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Caregivers teach children by example

It is difficult, in a time of stress, to remember that our children have watched us from infancy. How do we as caregivers present ourselves when we think that no one, including a small child, is watching?

Our less than ideal behavior when we are truly alone is also behavior we can use when we are with a child, ignoring the possibility of the child watching and learning.

When we are really alone, don’t we obey the traffic rules? Are we using shortcuts that we don’t think will be noticed? Do we curse or scream our frustration if we have a problem?

If we want to raise a citizen who is kind, compassionate, respectful, or seen to be such, how does that go? One behavior at a time … including private individuals.

Here are a few phrases some of us have heard as children that have served as role models, whether positive or negative:

“Because I said it, that’s why!” Or, hopefully, “I understand why you’re angry, but I can’t let you do this.” It’s not sure.

“Wait till your father comes home!” Or, preferably, “What you have done is unacceptable to me.” Your father must also know.

“If you don’t put your toys away now, I’ll call the police” or, better, “If you can’t control yourself I can hold you until you can” or “Dinner can wait for you. put away your toys. “

More from Charna Cohn:

When you speak with children, your words are more powerful than you think

When children lie, expressing disappointment can change their behavior

Parents must set a good example when it comes to caring for the community

So what skill should we use to express our anger or frustration in a way that sends a positive message to everyone in the room? Anger and frustration are tools of survival and we must use them to get through life. We need to show our children how they can express their anger or frustration.

Many of us were brought up with bad role models, adults who did not have the necessary communication skills. It’s never too late to learn! So what are the different behaviors that can be more effective?

Start by making what you feel is your own. “I’m mad.” Then add, what brings out that feeling? “I’m angry because I politely asked you to put your toys away and you ignored me.” The third step is to explain what you want to happen: “I want you to put your toys away so that no one walks on them, no one trips over them and gets hurt, so the room is clean and safe for the child. the rest of us.

The last step is to listen with respect. There may be a valid reason the toys were not put away. If there is no valid reason, you can rehearse how you feel and what you want / need the child to do. Be prepared for consequences. “Dinner can wait until it’s over.” “I can’t take you to your game until the toys are put away.” ”

For young children ages 5-7 and under (depending on the task) you can say, “Glad you had so much fun. Now the room is a big mess. I’ll help you. ”Providing help can be a relief for a little child who feels overwhelmed, unable or out of control of their emotions.

Be the role model you would like to have.

This is the latest column in a series on parenting from Charna Cohn, a retired assistant faculty member from Santa Fe College who lives in Gainesville. She holds a master’s degree in special education in early childhood and human growth and development.

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