The first contact we have with the world is, through our parents. The interesting thing comes when we as adults, realize or are aware that some of our behaviors were inherited from our parents. We act similarly or even, we have some gestures and characteristic of our parents very rooted in our personality.
When babies are born, they begin to see and know everything through their parents; in this way, they learn how the world works around them. As they grow up, they will develop their personality, and although the parents genetically cannot interfere, their emotional development will depend a lot on the relationship with them, and that there is an effective bond with them.
As parents, it is common to see children through the following factors: values, beliefs, conflicts of some kind, social norms, religion, etc.
All these factors will influence the perspective of the parents towards the child. Even before the child is born, the mother is already creating an idea of how her child will be, “guided” by the symptoms present in the pregnancy, if it is a boy/girl or depending on how their previous children have been.
Thus, once the child is born, we already have certain expectations that may or may not be met. But really, everything related to the behavior is unique to the child? By being part of a family, the infant will be involved in a social environment, in which many external factors will continuously be influencing and changing. In the family, each member, from the oldest to the youngest influences one another, and we are not always aware of it.
Now, there are times in which we see in children individual attitudes, either haughtiness, discomfort, impatience or fear of certain things or situations. All this generates us displeasure since as parents, guides and mentors, we want our children to be good at school, respectful of others and brave with challenges that they must face. When this is not the case, that is when they do not meet any of our expectations, it is when we begin to get upset with them and start to recriminate any unwanted behavior. I think we all want good children at home, but … how many of us are examples for of good people?
Many times, the behaviors are learned from the parents. For example, the typical instance in which we have our children answer the phone and lie to say that we are not at home. Later, when children lie with other things deliberately (because they thinks it’s okay to do so since dad or mom has asked them to do it for them), it’s when we no longer approve of that behavior. As adults, we are the mirror in our children.
If we are always negative or anxious, and for instance, we are afraid to confront challenges, it is likely that our children will also develops specific uncontrollable fears throughout their lives as well. At the beginning our children will imitate us, but later they have learned behaviors that remain rooted in their personality, and many of them do not favor the healthy growth of our children. And the most natural thing for us is to try to correct that behavior in them since they continuously observe it in us, this, can confuse children about how they should behave.
Parents transmit many things to children, and not necessarily through oral language, for example, through body movements, gestures, tone of voice, smile, looks, etc. Children can identify the things that please or displease their mothers, the things that concern their fathers, or what is important to them. Not to mention language, which is a powerful tool to express our feelings and emotions to the child. For example, when we get angry, we express that dislike with words instead of throwing or kicking things, we will be teaching children that there are acceptable ways to externalize our feelings, quite the contrary, to see us using violence to show our anger.
And how does all this influence the behavior of children?
In the formation of children’s identity, they will learn to see themselves as the most important people see them. At first, the most significant figures will be their parents and, as they grow up, the people with whom they interact (relatives, teachers, friends, etc.) will also be necessary for them to build the image that they will have of themselves.
¿WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
• Do not demand more: We must check the expectations of our children, sometimes we can ask for things that do not fit the possibilities of our child, either because of their age, their tastes, their personality, their routine, etc.
• Be logical: Do we do the same thing we say? This may seem easy to hear, but most of the time we find ourselves demanding things from our children that we do not do to ourselves. For example, asking children not to throw garbage on the floor, when they saw us throwing a plastic bottle in the middle of the street.
• Let’s tell them how we feel: Our feelings can be transmitted in multiple ways. Sometimes we are angry, and if our children come to ask what is happening with us, we say we are okay. In this case we are showing mixed messages to our children; On the one hand, they see angry expressions on our faces, but our oral language indicates that we are fine, and this can confuse the child.
• Take care of our language: It is important that we analyze things before saying them. If children learn hurtful words and expression from adults, they can repeat the same behavior with other adults and children. When we take care of our language by not saying hurtful things, can help our children’s self-esteem. Also, it will help them to address themselves with respect towards others and to learn the correct way of expressing themselves.
Changing certain things is not easy, but if we can understand ourselves a little better, it will be easier to understand our children better.
Written BY: Berenice González