Children are like sponges, that's why they learn so quickly. They can pick up their own , plus foreign languages, vocabulary colours, shapes, numbers, letters, weather, feelings, all well before they are ready for school. What we always forget as parents is they are picking up all the subtle signals we are sending them. They can read our mood through our body language and facial expressions. Some studies say we communicate 55% of our views, mood and feelings non-verbally. Children are emotionally sensitive so it makes sense they can read these signals better than many adults.
If you think about this logically it makes sense that if we are tense, angry or upset that our children may well feel unsure or upset. Even if we smile and try to reassure them verbally they may not accept this as true.
Being an example of a happy , healthy caring person is to me , the best way to develop happy, healthy caring children. We cannot expect our children to develop tolerance if we are intolerant, to be caring if we are brusque and uncaring, to be friendly if we are pathologically shy or anti-social. We may well be mortified if our child is the one who swears or bites at nursery, but if mummy swears at another driver on the school run , or daddy slams doors and mutters obscenities under his breath when he is annoyed about something what do you expect? Do as I say, not as I do does not work. Our children are too intelligent for that.
I have overheard parents tell their children not to be so F***ing cheeky, or to shut up, and then the very same parents seeing red when these words and phrases are repeated back to them.
I had my own parenting thrown back in my face this week by my 4 year old. We were in the car turning left into a road and there was a van parked very close to the corner making visibility almost impossible. I loudly called the van stupid and may well have uttered a few expletives also. Nancy piped up, and carried on till we were home, "It's not nice to call anyone stupid mummy". I tried to reason with her and say I was talking about the van, and not a real person , so it was OK. She was having none of it. A few hours later I was going out of the house, Nancy asked me where I was going, and when I said I was just popping out for something she said , complete with wagging finger " and you need to go and say you are sorry to that van!"