Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Requests from our Readers Week 29

This week we are discussing how to handle a situation where your kids are exposed to behavior you do not want them repeating. Check out what our reader said:

"I have a family member with children who often behave in ways I do not want my own children to behave. Since they are family and we love them I can't exactly not plan to do things with them, but I worry that my children will learn to act in the same ways they see their cousins act. Since parenting is such a sensitive topic I don't want to say anything to their parents, but I also don't want to have to re-direct my own children every time we come home from being with those cousins."

So let's help her out!

What would you do if your children were frequently exposed to inappropriate behavior by other children?

How do you teach very young children that they should not act in ways they see other children act, especially if if it someone they love and look up to?


Heather said...

If you are going to spend time with them, you will need to plan to have the conversation with your children before and/or after each event. That's just something you'll have to deal with, I think.

Depending on the behaviors, you can do different things. Whether it's a good manners issue, a language issue, or a treating others well issue, Berenstain Bears has books that can start the conversation.

In a similar situation, it has helped my daughter to talk about how we are going to help them learn by setting a good example. I also love to point out when she is doing something well and direct her attention to other people who she admires that frequently make good choices so she can follow their example instead.

If I'm on the ball, I try to have this conversation before we hook up with the children who don't always maintain the standards we have set. Then we talk about it after. I do try to separate the deed from the doer, if that makes sense. So we focus on the naughty action, rather than a naughty person.

Good luck. This is a tough situation.

Chris and Laura said...

I like what you said, Heather! Good advice.

I wanted to say something similar...I would try really hard to emphasize the good behaviors while the kids are together. Make a big deal out of good things that your kids do, and make a big deal out of the good things the cousins do, too. Kids love to be praised! When you are really happy and give lots of good attention, the kids will (hopefully!) want to do more of the good behaviors and less of the bad. That would also help to not draw too much negative attention on you from the other mom--who would be mad about someone being excited for and praising their child?

The Fishes said...

We talk about choices here - good and bad ones. I was using naughty in my vocabulary way too often for my liking, so we had a vocab. change :) This helps when dealing with others as well - because we talk about how choices can affect us - the good outcomes and the bad punishments. Sometimes it's my kids that are making the bad choices, so we address it immediately with a talk. I try to make sure the other kiddos hear it as well, making it a learning lesson for all hopefully. The talk goes over the bad choice and what good choice could replace it.

If it is something super negative, you may have to addess it with the parent(s). Let them know you are struggling with a behavior and ask for their help, try to reverse psychology them :) I think I'd only do this if the behavior was being repeated by my child though. Just be sensitive and good luck!

Tannie Datwyler said...

I love the comments given. I have one suggestion and it might not work for you at all. You said you often re-direct your children, have you ever tried re-directing your children's cousins? When I'm with my SIL and one of my kids does something not too nice to one of her kids, she is quick to tell the child (kindly, but firmly) "don't hit" or whatever my child did. It doesn't offend me at all and I do it to her children too. If one of her boys is picking on one of my kids I tell him to knock it off (as nicely as I can). I think that as a mother I appreciate it when my SIL sees a situation that I don't see and corrects it. Maybe if you were to OCCASIONALLY (and very gently) correct one of your children's cousins it wouldn't be so hard coming across and the mom/dad might get the message that you aren't comfortable with the situation.

Again - this is TOTALLY personal. It all depends on how close you are to the parents and how comfortable you are with that. Take it or leave it - just another idea. :)

Good luck - that is SO HARD!!

Jes said...

I like Tannie's comment too :) some parents may not take it so nicely, but luckily I havent run into that yet, and I too agree that Im totally ok with (and appreciate) when someone else does it for my kids too when my kid is being the crazy one!)