Raise yourself before you raise your kids. I first came across this phrase a couple of years ago when I was watching a Sadhaguru video on Youtube. At that time my daughter was still very small. He spoke of how we cannot expect our children to be a certain way, if we are not. We do not need to direct our efforts of teaching onto our children in order for them to learn.
Our children learn through modelling
Our children are like sponges. They absorb and take in everything around them. For example, they learn to talk and walk without us physically or directly teaching them. They have picked up how to say goodbye or hello as they have seen us do it so many times.
If we want our children to behave in a certain way, we have to model that behaviour. If we want them to understand how to say thank you; the reasons, the context, and the social meaning; then we have to model that. We need to say ‘thank you’ to those around us, including our child, and we need to say it often!
Children do not learn the expected social behaviours by repeating a word that you have asked them to say. They learn it by seeing it used in context regularly.
So, if we want our child to show respect to other children and other adults, we have to show them respect. We cannot say to our children; ‘no, you must not snatch’ whilst simultaneously snatching a toy out of their hand. We cannot ask our children to wait whilst we finish something before talking to us, yet get cross if they don’t respond immediately to us. We have to treat them how we wish to be treated, and wish them to treat others.
What do we want for our children?
These ‘ideas’ or ‘solutions’ seemed simple to me. If I wanted her to do, or to say something then I needed to demonstrate it. It wasn’t until recently, whilst running a Toddler behaviour workshop that this phrase really spoke to me. I realised I was talking about myself as if I was in the past. Talking about how I didn’t want my daughter to have the traits I had. To not have low self esteem, low confidence. As if these were things I am, and always will be, unable to change, As if I were dead.
I am not dead. In fact, I have, hopefully, over 50 years left of my life. I don’t have to have low confidence for the rest of my life. I can change, and, if I want my child to not suffer the way I have, then I need to model this to her now. How can I expect my child to have high self esteem when she spends her life with an adult who thinks so lowly of themselves?
And so I have now taken the pledge to raise myself. I will make the effort to develop the qualities I wish I had and consequently wish for my daughter to have. I will raise these in myself and consequently model them to her. She will grow up seeing a person with strength, integrity, self–esteem, self-belief, kindness, respect for others and herself. I will model these qualities and she will develop them too.
Kristy Munday- Raising Myself and ToddlerCalm Cambourne
I’m Kristy, Mummy to Lana and wife to James, and we live just outside Cambridge. My passions are becoming more compassionate in all aspects of my life, to children to adults, to the environment and to animals.
I also love being outside in nature (when it’s not too rainy, cold or hot), watching a movie, reading a book and generally sitting doing nothing. I am here to help support parents in the most challenging times, and help them to parent the way they want to, confidently, compassionately and consciously.
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