I am working with the Monique Burr Foundation for Children on a sponsored post to spread awareness.
We all want our children to be kind, confident, cooperative and assertive. It can be hard to teach our children to handle so many different behaviors. We miss providing learning opportunities for our children when we make keep practicing these damaging parenting habits. Many times, these habits keep us from having those teachable-moments that give them the tools to learn to be responsible, independent adults. We want our children to take the initiative to stand up for what they believe in, but the sense to stop and listen to others, too.
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1). Not letting our CHILD make the choice.
Give your child choices, not hard ones, just choices that they can make on a daily basis. “Which of these TWO outfits do you want to wear tomorrow?” “Which cereal do you want to eat?” “Do you want milk or water with your dinner?” This is a damaging parent habit because when we don’t let our children have a choice of simple things, it will hinder them from making a choice when it comes to harder issues.
2). Not letting them “TAKE CHANCES, MAKE MISTAKES.”
If you are always there to stop your child from making a mistake, they will rely on you forever. Let them take chances. Let them see that falling on the ground wasn’t so awful. I know, from experience, that when I guard our kids too much, I create unnecessary fear in them. (ex: By me saying “Watch out! A bee!”, It had led to our oldest child being terrified of bees for years. It has calmed down now that I have calmed down… but take it from me, they feed off of your fear!)
3). We Don’t Really Listen
Our children know that we have experience. They know that we probably have the solution to their problems, yet so many times they don’t come to their parents. Why? They are afraid of being judged, afraid of getting into trouble. I saw this in one of our sons, and I told him that if he needed help or was afraid to tell me something, he could say “I need to tell you, and I don’t’ want you to get mad.” I knew that something terrible was coming and that I was going to remain calm. (Example: He broke something, he lied, etc…). I knew that I was going to have to listen.
This will become more important as they get older. If they learn to trust you for the little things, they will come to you for the big things.
The Monique Burr Foundation teaches five safety rules and one of them is “No Blame | No Shame” I want our children to know that if anything serious should happen, they can come to me without feeling blame or shame. They need to learn that they are never to blame if something bad happens to them, and they should not be ashamed to tell. Kids are also taught that if they have been hurt in the past and didn’t tell, it’s still okay to tell. “No Blame | No Shame” teaches adults that if a child has been hurt, they are not to blame and there is no shame in seeking help.
Your child needs to learn to trust you so they can feel comfortable coming to you. The best way to build trust? Listen to your child, without reacting. Just listen.
4). We OVER-compliment.
Yes, it is GREAT to be proud of your kids, but give them the chance to show you their greatness. If we are always telling them how great they do, for every tiny thing, our word will start to become something that they NEED, and it will also lose part of its value. Let’s not teach them to rely on others for positive reinforcement. Let them do a job themselves, and they will see how great it feels to be proud of themselves! Our son passed a swim test that took him many tries to pass, and when he finally passed it, he turned to me and said: “Mom, I am so proud of myself!” – that is the best feeling of all!
5). We swoop in to save them constantly.
This is hard, I know. I have done it, and I’m sure that I will continue to do it, at times. The problem is that soon our children learn that if they fail at something, we will save them. What happens down the road? In college? With their mortgage? Their marriage? Their job? We can’t save them.
It is hard to sit by and not “fix” something for your child that you can quickly fix. When our son’s classmate wouldn’t let our son play with his football… what did I do? I bought him a to take to school. What did this teach him? Just go to Mom & Dad, and they will buy my way out of a sticky situation.
What should I have done? Asked him to TALK to that child.
When we finally did talk to that child (because my easy fix didn’t fix anything), I learned that this little boy didn’t want our son to play with the football because our son was getting the touchdowns and that left this little boy behind. He felt sad that he wasn’t the one getting the touchdowns. It turns out that this little boy who was being mean was simply an insecure child, putting his fears onto someone else. I felt awful that we didn’t just do that FIRST. Instead, we thought that he was mean and so my husband and I “swooped” in to save our son.
It is important to remember that the children who are doing the bullying are often surrounded by other issues. According to the Monique Burr Foundation, 60% of bullies in grade 6-9 have a criminal conviction by the time that they are 24 years old.
Lesson Learned: If we save them now, we will save them forever. Teach them how to deal with things, instead of saving them. Learn from my mistake.
6). We let guilt blind us.
It’s ok to let our kids feel some disappointment. Be sure that you read that right:I didn’t say that it is EASY to watch them deal with a disappointment, I only said that it was OK. The beautiful thing about children is that they are so resilient and they will get over it. In return, children will learn that they can’t have everything that they want, just because they want it. We tend to give our children things when we feel guilty. Maybe we are working too much, not spending enough time with them, we have multiple children and can’t devote that one-on-one time to each child as much as we want, etc. There will always be a reason, but it doesn’t mean that we have to buy them things.
Don’t let guilt blind you and don’t let materialistic things blind your children. It can even be tempting to reward them because we feel bad for them (like when one child succeeds as something while the other fails). As hard as it is, let them learn these life lessons when they are children, so they don’t have to learn them as adults.
7). Expecting Perfection.
Don’t expect perfection. Don’t expect laziness, either. Teach them to try their best (and make sure that they do!). Making their bed is a great example. They might not tuck in the sheets as you would, or put the pillows on just like you, but if the bed is made and looks well-done, let it be. Don’t re-make it.
8). We don’t show them what to do… we tell them.
Lead by example. The best thing that we can do is to SHOW our kids how to behave.
When I volunteer somewhere- guess what they want to do?
When my husband offers to help someone- guess what they want to do?
Teach your kids to lead by being a leader! (& teach them to listen by being a listener).
When I stand up for someone – guess what they want to do? Teach your children to stand up for other children. 28% of US students in grades 6-12 have experienced bullying; 70.6% of young students have witnessed bullying. Over 25% of adolescents & teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. In fact, 1 in 4 children will be bullied and 1 in 5 will be cyberbullied. An estimated 160,000 students stay home from school every day because they fear being bullied. Let us teach our children what to do when we see someone being bullied, so we can be the change.
9). We don’t talk about the “uncomfortable issues”.
As a parent, we have one job: teach our children. Teach them to be kind, teach them to be responsible, teach them how to stay safe, teach them what to do in a dangerous situation, and teach them when to come to you. More than 3 million children are abused in the U.S. every year. We need to be talking about these things with our children because 95% of abuse is preventable through education, like the Monique Burr Foundation. “This year, there will be about 400,000 babies born in the U.S. that will become victims of child sexual abuse unless we do something to stop it. And it shouldn’t take 400,000 more victims before we start changing the conversation on sexual abuse. #ChangetheConversation is a campaign designed to bring awareness of the systemic issues that surround abuse of children and change the way we talk about it within communities, homes, and families as a preventative measure. “
Statistics show that 75% of victims never report sexual abuse – it’s time to move this conversation from something that we don’t’ talk about to something that we feel comfortable enough to #ChangetheConversation with our children. Yes, it might be uncomfortable to bring it up or even tell our children that such things exist, but, as they say: prevention is the best medicine. Our children are looking to us for guidance and security. MoniqueBurr Foundation for Children programs teaches students in K through 8th grade about the five safety rules to help protect them from bullying, cyberbullying and all types of abuse. In six years, they have reached over 2 million students and they hope to reach every student in the United States.
“Children look to the adults in their lives for guidance and security. That’s why this month, we hope you will help us help your child. Together, we can set examples and provide information that students need to stay safe.” ~ Monique Burr Foundation #ChangetheConversation
10). We don’t encourage them to try… and fail.
If they want to try something, tell them to go for it! If they think something might be too hard… ask them “Why not just give it a shot? What’s the worst that can happen?” I try to be laid back with a lot of things, and I hope that our kids see that. I don’t let them try dangerous situations, but I do encourage them to try things that they might be reluctant to try.
I encourage them to GIVE IT A SHOT! The only thing that comes from failure is you learn a new way NOT to do it, so you can move on to try something else.
Think back to the example of standing up for someone. Why would they sit by and watch someone being bullied without stepping in? Fear. Fear of teasing, fear of losing friends… fear stops us from so much. Now think of how much they will have changed someone’s life if they DO step in. Encourage your children to remember that through failure, there is always a great lesson learned. There is always an upside to failure. Take a chance.
Thanks to The Monique Burr Foundation for Children for today’s post. I support their movement to #ChangeTheConversation because they believe that every child deserves to be safe, and so do I. They are a prevention education foundation focused on bullying and abuse prevention. Prevention programs can improve test scores, grade point averages, lower dropout rates, and improve overall school safety and climate. The Monique Burr Foundation teaches strategies to prevent, recognize and respond appropriately to bullying, cyberbullying all types of child abuse, digital abuse, and other digital dangers. They are on a mission to change the way prevention education is delivered, to ultimately create a culture change that changes the conversation from #MeToo to #NoMoreMeToo.
To learn more about the Monique Burr Foundation and how you can Change the Conversation in your community, visit the Monique Burr Foundation.