I want to talk to you candidly about why it’s so important to set a good example for your kids by making a change instead of complaining. If you’re a parent, you know how impressionable kids can be. This includes children of all ages and stages, from birth through adolescence. At a very early age, your kids will begin to imitate you. It’s human nature and is to be expected at various stages of development. That’s why it’s so important to set the best example you can for your children. While I’m sure you know this, I also know how little habits can seem like not such a big deal.
What They Learn
When you complain frequently, your kids are learning quite a bit from your behavior. They learn that the world is a negative place in which they have very little control. They will see things as out of their hands and that life is happening to them, rather than being the director of their own experience. Kids who internalize a mentality of complaining can easily start to believe those bad things are the fault of outside circumstances or other people. This can send them the message that they are not at fault for their poor decisions or difficult circumstances.
How They React
When kids get the message that complaining is acceptable and embrace it as a way of life, their lives can be affected in a lot of negative ways. They learn helplessness. That is, they will likely sit back and accept a difficult situation as their lot in life, rather than doing something proactive to correct the problem if possible. This type of attitude is incredibly damaging to a child’s sense of self-worth and confidence. They also develop what is known as an “external locus of control.” This term means that they see things as out of their hands or as happening to them, leading them to think they cannot change their lives for the better. Someone with an internal locus of control feels that the power is within them to make a change. It’s a much healthier way of looking at the world. Finally, kids can develop a really negative attitude when they’re exposed to chronic complaining. They start to think that nothing is their fault or that they can’t be blamed for poor behavior.
Ways to Change
Getting past the cycle of complaining in order to show your kids there’s a better way may seem overwhelming. Changing a habit for yourself is hard enough. Breaking those of your children might seem insurmountable. The good news is that it’s actually quite doable. By changing your own behavior, you can begin to help your kids overcome their issues. The turnaround won’t happen overnight. It will take baby steps. Start by getting a handle on your own complaints. Then open the doors of communication. Talk to them about ways they can work to change things that frustrate them, when possible. Emphasize brainstorming solutions to the problems that upset them. Don’t forget to share ways to cope with the things they can’t change.
It is possible to help your kids to have a more positive outlook on life and to support their journey to contentment by modeling the behaviors you’re learning along this journey. You’ll be amazed at what they pick up from watching your reinvention.