Make Up Your Mind We may put our foot down when it comes to bullying on the playground, but what about what is reflected on our DVR settings? Reality television and gossip magazines are simple, mindless forms of entertainment, right? But are they really? If we don’t tolerate bullying, why are we willing to tune into the latest dose of women behaving poorly? Therapist Stephanie Knight reminds us, “Conclusions on studies of the ‘contrast effect’ state that the people we spend time with and the environments we expose ourselves to significantly influence our behavior.” And when it comes to motherhood, our influences can significantly affect our children.
Wear it Well One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to show graciousness to everyone, from the checker at the grocery store to the principal in our schools. Although we certainly don’t always have to agree, kindness trumps all. Making eye contact, smiling, remembering names and striking up even brief conversations communicates respect, value and care for others.
Walk the Kindness Talk It’s not always the face-to-face lessons we share that impact our children, but the things they overhear from the backseat of the car or while walking only steps behind. When talking on our cell phone, for example, we often forget that the children around us are taking notes and learning from our dialogues. By speaking unkindly or making critical notes about others, we teach our children how to pass judgment on those we know and those we don’t. This type of dialogue and thought process also adds unnecessary stress to our daily lives. Knight reminds us that when we use unflattering labels to describe people, we add drama to our internal and external dialogues. And I wouldn’t imagine any of us is in need of more stress in our lives.
“By speaking unkindly or making critical notes about others, we teach our children how to pass judgment on those we know and those we don’t.” 151