Have you ever considered what influences you and therefore what you role model for your children?
We are constantly being influenced by the media, whether obviously, such as in advertising that tells us how they are going to make us much better than we are (happy, relaxed, popular, successful, great shape, healthy), or give us a plethora of pictures of what ‘normal’ is and what our values should be, such as in movies, and television (this is how relationships, love, friendship, family dynamics, all work – drama and conflict is normal). If that is too subtle then there is always a talk show with an expert telling us how to be happy, cook, solve our problems, keep the peace, and where to place our trust. Then there is the wider influence of politics, religion, culture, nationality, and family history... exhausting.
How many people’s opinions are living in our bodies and therefore our homes?!
Before we throw them all out, it is worth pausing and asking why we have not noticed their influence before. Is it because by going along with them it helps us fit in with everyone else, we don’t stand out as weird or problematic?
But if we don’t question what is influencing us, what are we then modelling for our children?
Children watch and learn, and we have used this to teach our children from young. Take for example feeding, how many mouthfuls of baby food have we eaten with a big wide welcoming mouth saying “mmmm yummy”, only to have to fake the smile when we put it in our mouth and actually tasted it? Chances are the baby accepted the challenge and blew raspberries to see if it tasted any better that way! There was a simplicity that didn’t know how to be anything other than honest. They watched and learnt. Their hearing and understanding of words came much later and they learnt, perhaps, that what we say is not always what we mean.
Do we role model that it is stressful to go to work and parent children, that we drink coffee during the day and drink wine at night with as many distractions in between as possible, as medication just to get through life? That is what all the movies and TV shows tell us is normal, regular and even trendy for a happy life. Why, unless we role model something different, would our children know any different?
Our medication may be coffee, wine and TV, is theirs zoning out, gaming, or disappearing into a world of social media? We could ask what harm this does. If they see our lives as so stressful, then are they not more likely to want to avoid growing up and perhaps express their rebellion with bigger and perhaps more risky life choices?
Time to blow a few raspberries of our own to what we have been fed. We don’t ‘need’ to fit in if fitting in means it goes against what we feel are our core values. Living true to yourself is a basic foundation for feeling well, so how about that being one of the most important things we teach and role model for our children? It is time for a parenting rebellion and perhaps an eviction or two of all the opinions we don’t want in our lives and therefore our homes.
Time to evict those unwanted ‘house guests’ and role model from the inside out, not the outside in.