A lot of the scientists, teachers and influential voices in the education sector tell us that children learn from observing and imitating the grown-ups in their lives. I believe this to be true and have often seen Little M. doing stupid stuff, which his dad or I have done. I know that our family is not an exception for teaching the younger generation the bad and ugly habits, which we, the grown-ups, cherish with such a devotion. Children are smart and very observant, and whatever we do, they will imitate.
For instance, if you spend a lot of time on your phone or tablet, your child will want to do that too and if you decide to limit your child’s access to electric devices they will ask tons of questions and will want to know why you can be on your phone all the time and they can’t (by default kids are very much justice and equality driven).
If you work all the time and never have any quality time for your children and your family, the odds of your child not having time for you once they leave the house are pretty high – ‘Cats in the Cradle’, anyone?
If your diet consists of eating mainly junk food, the chances of your child adding celery or carrots to their menu are slim to non-existing.
It’s not any different from maintaining friendships really, especially at a young age. We all must remember that friends and friendships are vital for our species and, as grown-ups in our children lives we shouldn’t dismiss their strong emotional attachment to other children, whether we like them or not really. Friendships and relationships with others shape us for life and parents of young children should treat building friendships with the greatest respect, not an unwelcome chore that you unwillingly add to the “to do” list. Without honest and real human connection we are lost and if we don’t teach our kids that relationships are meaningful and worth maintaining, they will struggle in adult life. In the long run, virtual reality will never replace a hug of a friend.
I believe that parents have an immense responsibility to teach their children what it means to be a good human. At the beginning of their lives, we need to take the role of guides in the maze of life. Our responsibility as parents is to help shape the new generation of thinkers, innovators, and leaders, who will be able to work together and to put their amazing brains together to save the humanity and to preserve our planet. And let’s face it, we need saving.
If you are a parent, try to be mindful of your actions and the fact that those actions have serious consequences influencing your child’s life choices, education, and ambition. Next time when your child asks you to play cards with them, and you are on your phone or working 12th hour straight, be mindful, think about the consequences of what you are about to do. One action can change someone’s life, shape the outcome of the future, and have a ripple effect for the years to come.
Put your phone or computer down, stay in touch with your child’s friends, don’t gossip about people in front of your children, use kindness in your everyday life. Try to learn from your child as well; it is a two-way street, and usually they are much more in touch with their inner selves then we are.
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