I think a lot about being a mother. As an engaged girl finishing her last semester of college, I get mixed responses when this comes to light. Lots of joking, glances at my fiancee, some fake worry. And to that I say I enjoy pondering and wondering about my future, who doesn’t?
I was pondering yesterday the many jobs that parents have. A lot of focus is placed on raising kind, patient, honest, and responsive children. But I thought about the other side of it, and this goes deeper than “practicing what you preach”. Parents set up their children’s expectations for how other people should behave. By being patient, honest, kind, and responsive parents, a child can grow up not only having influential models of these behaviors, but also internalize that this is how exceptional people should treat each other. By no means do I think parents should not warn their child that people are not always good. The crux is this: parents modelling these behaviors will help ensure that when the child encounters the opposite (cruelty, impatience, deceit, and force), a red light will go off in their head, and they will be confident enough to say no, to escape the situation, and to find help. I want my children to seek out exceptional people, and I want them to be confident enough to stand up to anything less.
Inspired in part by: Ways Parents Teach Kids Consent Doesn’t Matter