Thursday, March 31, 2011

Little Sponges

Yesterday I had the lovely experience of speaking to a customer service representative via outsourcing.  And after not understanding the first 2 representatives and asking for the supervisor's supervisor, I finally reached someone who understood my question.  But in the middle of it all, I had become so frustrated, I raised my voice and at the same time,  noticed that my baby girl's head turned to look at me as I spoke in this new 'what the heck is my mom saying' voice.  And I thought, oops!  She's never really seen me get upset or mad yet but she could sure tell the difference.  Uh-oh.

Babies are like little sponges.  They soak up EVERYTHING. And I mean everything.  Even though my child is not verbal yet, you can bet she is taking everything in and grasping the English language, in addition to non-verbal language cues like raising your voice or crossing your arms when you speak.

Have you noticed how many habits, verbal and non-verbal language and facial expressions you have that are identical to your parents?  Kind of crazy huh? We learn most of our expressions as kids from our parents or primary caregivers.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it really makes you aware of what you do and how you act around your children.  Monkey see, monkey do.  You can't really say to your kids, "do as I say, not as I do." It just doesn't work that way.

That reminds me of that drug commercial from the 1980's where the dad asked his son where he found drug paraphernalia and the kid goes, "I learned it from you dad!" Nice.  But it's so true.  If there is a negative habit you have, such as high anxiety, anger management, etc. it really pays to keep it in check around your child, or else they will learn and inherit this from you.

An example of this is, say you get anxious around spiders and start screaming whenever you see one.  It only takes a few times for your young child to witness this before they too start getting scared and screaming around spiders.

Or a more common example is taking your child to school for the first time whether it's daycare, preschool or 1st grade.  If you're anxious and have a worried look on your face, then your child will feed into that anxiety and start getting upset. The best thing to do is keep as calm as possible and show confidence and save your tears for after you leave the school :)

How about if you are in public and are rude to the cashier, or the waitress, then your child will definitely pick up on this. They'll think, "hmm, this is how I am supposed to be around people in public, just like my mom (or dad) are."

But what if it's a little more extreme and you get angry easily and say hit the sofa, kick the wall, or throw things, then guess what? Your child will learn the same thing, that when they get mad, then they are supposed to hit, throw or punch something. And it's hard to get upset with our children for something they learned from us. Again, the whole do as I say not as I do thing.

But back to the positives, being a parent is the best job ever! It's our responsibility to teach our children about the world around us.  And it's so much fun to see how they react to their environment.  I always wonder what my daughter is thinking when she sees new things and how she is interpreting them. It makes it so hard to not laugh when kids say the cutest but most crazy things!

Have any of you been caught off guard with your children?  Do you have any negative characteristics you don't want to pass on to them? :)





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