I often refer to children as “little sponges” because they are constantly, continuously soaking up everything in their world. Life experiences are coming at them right and left and they are absorbing every bit of it. What kids see and experience on a daily basis is what shapes them into the person that they will be as an adult.
I’ve included an image with this post. It nicely sums up the behavior that children learn by what they see in their day to day lives. I first read this quotation in a magazine many years ago as a young mother. I clipped it out and hung it on my refrigerator to remind myself repeatedly to model my behavior to that which I wanted my daughter to reflect. Often a child’s behavior is a mirror image to her parents. Behavioral patterns are learned, they are not instinctual.
Think about what kind of example you are setting for your little ones. Do you criticize others or them? Do you yell and scream at them? Do you project negativity about your life? Are you quick to scold but slow to praise? Everything you say and everything you do makes an impression on your little sponge. Every time you are critical, hostile, sarcastic or negative, these behaviors are being soaked up by your child.
It amazes me how parents expect so much more out of their child than what they expect out of other adults. I’m sure, like most of us, you have bad days sometimes. We all do, that’s just life. There are days when the stars don’t seem to be aligned in our favor and everything goes wrong. It builds up over the day to a point of exasperation and exhaustion. We recognize that in ourselves and other adults and sympathize with each other. Your child is no different. Kids are people too. Their feelings and responses to life are no less important than yours just because they are three feet shorter and have lived fewer years. Yet parents expect their child to be on their best behavior 24/7. When they are not, they are punished or reprimanded. You are allowed to have a bad day, but your child isn’t?
Take some time to reflect on the behavior example you set for your little sponge. BE the person you want your child to be. Remember, children learn what they see. What does your child see?