We’re visiting friends at the moment, surrounded by beautiful farmland, and that got me thinking. Whether you’re a crop farmer or dairy a lot of what you get back is reliant on what you put in. (I know there are lots of other things that influence farming but that’s not where I’m going with this.)
Parenting is a bit like farming…the way we nurture our children will directly impact how they grow and their characters. If they’re in a difficult environment they will adapt to survive and that could mean becoming aggressive or submissive or anything else in between. The internal armour will thicken.
B and I aim for a safe environment both physically and emotionally. Too often emotional safety is overlooked.
I have seen so many children who are so scared of getting into trouble they end up creating lies.
Do you really want your children to be afraid to tell you the truth?
We want The Kids to understand that they can come to us no matter what- if they need help or just have questions about something- to know that we’re always here for them.
Tell the truth [and everything will be ok].
We don’t have any punishments or punitive consequences; we have chosen to let the natural consequences have the impact because they’re the reality, but still The Kids talk about ‘getting into trouble’.
I asked The Kids what it means [because we don’t punish and there isn’t any ‘trouble’ to be gotten into] it seems to boil down to us being disappointed with them. More importantly they are probably disappointing themselves.
So ‘trouble’ is something that makes them feel sad or ashamed.
Well that is certainly a dose of reality. If The Kids think I’m going to be disappointed with something they’re doing then they likely know they shouldn’t be doing it.
Children learn by example- they copy what they see: if they see you reacting aggressively then they will react aggressively, if they see you reacting with kindness and empathy then they will react with kindness and empathy.
I have observed more and more than when B and I get snappy the kids get even snappier and by learning to moderate ourselves we inadvertently help The Kids to moderate themselves.
We have a duty to feed,clothe and shelter our children but our responsibilities go so much further; we are contributing to the character of the next generation. What does that mean to you?