Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What you teach your kids when you're not trying to

One of the things I think I've learned over the years is that kids are little parrots...mimics. They pick everything up from us like how to speak. They hear/see us do something so they practice it. You don't literally sit and "teach" your kids every word of the English language, they just "pick it up" from you.

Seems "everything" is like that.

Recently, my mother, who I think is rather attractive for her age, was looking at a picture just taken of her and my son. She said something that blew my mind...

"I'm so ugly! I don't know how anyone can stand to be in the same room with me!"

I was floored. I'd never ever heard her say that...ever! Yet...I've said that hundreds of times in my life. Said that exact thing! How was that possible? Even my son looked at me right away with that look in his eye like, "Wow! Where have I heard that one before?!"

So, how did I pick that up from her? Not by direct teaching but by how she's thought of herself has determined how she's treated herself her whole life...and in front of me. If 80% of communication is body language then she's been telling me somehow that she feels that way about herself.

One thing I've caught on to recently, that proves this point to me, is that if I want my kids to say, "Please!" and "Thank you!" I need to do it. I need them to see me doing it and they will imitate me. So, when we go get the free cookie at Target's bakery each time we go there...I do not say to my kids, "Now, say 'thank you' to the lady,"...*I* say, "Thank you!" and sure enough, the kids follow. (It's actually a good way to do that because then the kids feel like they did it on their own and it shows them that their mom is polite and it shows me they wanna be like me! Win win!)

But this also works in the negative. Probably just the same way, when my mom had thoughts about herself that, "I'm so ugly! I don't know how anyone can stand to be in the same room with me!" somehow, I took that in as how to think about myself.

It's funny how a bunch of things that all connect will happen around the same time because then recently I had a conversation with my eldest daughter in which she expressed that sometimes she feels like a worthless piece of crap.

So, where did she pick that up from, I wonder?

Not too many days before she said this I'd found a folder in the bottom of a container that has stuff I wrote in high school and thereabouts. I found this, on a piece of notepaper with the heading, "POTENTIAL F-UPS FOR TODAY". It looks as though it was written probably around 1989/1990 (when I was 20 or 21)...(and weighed probably 120 pounds soaking wet...) 

- - -

STUFF I DON’T LIKE:

I’m overweight, flabby, can’t grow my hair, have little tits, 1/2 way ok at anything, really good at nothing, I talk too much, I’m indecisive, I’m moody, bitchy, mean, selfish, untrustworthy, emotionally unstable, weak, can’t take care of myself, I have no motivation, can’t keep interest in things, untrusting, paranoid, pessimistic, uneducated, boring, strange, unlikable, unfriendly, I gave up my kid, give up on things too easily, am stressful to be around, too critical, jealous, hypocritical, self pitying, still alive, can almost draw but not quite, impatient, ununderstanding, pushy, dumb, undeserving, childish, I’m a bum, I have no ambition for money so I’m a burden to the world I live in…
I don’t like me

- - -

This is why "self" esteem really is so important and why thinking of yourself horribly, no matter if you do so vocally or not, matters and can scar your children. This is how I felt about myself as I began my parenting journey, and no matter how much I'd focus on the child's welfare, she was seeing everything I did to and for me. And, she learned...

Take some time to appreciate yourself. Make a list of reasonable things you don't like about yourself and look at those things. Are those things you can change? Are they true or not true? And, do those things have a positive angle you could try to emphasize?

Work thru your own issues, for your children's sakes, and your whole family will be happier and healthier.


Prov. 23:7 "For as he thinks within himself, so he is."




(I have to say when I look at that list above, the one that says, "still alive" kinda' makes me laugh. And, the one that says, "I have no ambition for money..." makes me feel good about myself because I now think that's a good quality.)



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Leave the past in the past?

A common thing you hear people say when they get into a stressful situation in a relationship is, "Let's just let the past stay in the past and move forward..."

Sounds great. 

But I was just thinking...what do we consider..."past"?

Imagine I say to my husband,"I f'in hate you! You suck! Go to h-e-double-hockeysticks!" and stomp off.

Two minutes later, he comes to me and says, "Hey, that was really hurtful, why'd you say that?"

What if I would turn to him, and say..."Why do you have to keep bringing up the past? Let's leave the past in the past, OK?"

Although it would technically be in the past (by 2 minutes)...that would be ludicrous, wouldn't it?

But what if he came to me... 

2 hours later?
2 days?
2 weeks?
2 months?
2 years?

...with the same question, "Why'd you say that to me? That was really hurtful."

Just when would it be appropriate for me to say, "It's in the past let's just let bygones be bygones," and why?

See, I don't think that offenses in relationships are about time...they're about resolution...because if something has gone wrong in a relationship and has not been resolved then even if it happened 20 years ago...if it's still disturbing someone...it's still current. It's not in the past.

Issues aren't either in the present or the past...they're either resolved or unresolved. And, the only way to move forward out of a conflict is to resolve it...

When I was a kid the way I was dealt with when I had conflict with my parents was I was sent to my room. Then, whatever it was was never brought up again. This left me with a lotta' unresolved junk to deal with thru my adult years, and I feel like, for the most part, I've finally (at age 46) done it.

I was sorta' trained that way, and in many ways I'm more comfortable just running from issues, but ultimately, I can't ever let things linger. I can't be at peace while a conflict is still "alive".

I think the best thing we can do for our kids is to teach them how to communicate effectively at all times - even in conflict. 

That means we have to let them yell back at us. We have to let them say, "No!" We have to let them say, "I hate you!" and help them work thru their big feelings until they know how to express themselves in mature, effective ways.

We have to teach them, by example, and thru counsel things like... 

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger." Prov. 15:1

and...

"Be angry and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:26,27

and...

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same." Luke 6:32, 33

Otherwise, what we will raise are children who when they have conflict with someone, they'll keep the "I hate you!" thoughts bottled up inside, letting the sun go down on their anger over and over telling themselves they're "keeping it in the past"

And then...when they finally let the anger come out, they will have to start from scratch...like a child...as an adult. And, if they've married someone with similar (lacking) skills...they won't grow up...they'll end up divorcing...

Train your kids up right, folks. Train them to be able to resolve conflicts because conflicts...they will always have in all phases of life. How you train them to deal with it will determine how many they stuff into their baggage and drag along with them till the day they die...





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