You’ve all had one of those moments where your little one utters something well-beyond their years and you wonder “Where did that come from?”. Or, they mumble something eerily familiar and you know exactly where they heard it from–you!
Your kids are watching you all of the time. They are adorable little, messy-faced, sponges who unconsciously absorb every little thing they see and add it into their growing library of knowledge.
Most of the time this is a great thing. Your kids see you hold a door for someone and learn an act of kindness or they watch you pick up a piece of litter and they learn to be a good neighbour. But sometimes, it works the other way. In schools, I saw many children deal with their anger in a less than ideal way and part of that is a learned behaviour from their environment.
People have a tendency to yell when they are angry. They yell on the phone during a business call when their kids are in the backseat. They yell at the TV when their sports team isn’t playing very well. They yell at their kids when they’ve asked them to pick up their toys a million times and then end up stepping on a piece of lego because it wasn’t done. Your kids see all of this and then guess what? They get mad at a friend at school and they yell. They get frustrated at their work and they yell. A teacher tries to help them solve a problem and they yell.
And yelling is just the beginning. The anger of adults can escalate and kids see that too. But let’s start small. Stop yelling. Model to your kids how to ‘use your words’. Show them what coping strategies you use. Teach them to show their emotions in a positive way.
It’s not always easy, but remember, they’re watching. And they want to be just like you. So be your best so that they can be their best!