Life Lessons for children: How we stuff them up!

1. Stranger Danger. How much do we go on and on and on about stranger danger? We tell our children not to talk, go with or accept gifts from strangers. And then there’s Santa Claus. As a story or a fun activity, Santa is great. Bring him on. When it comes to enforcing the stranger danger message, this is where, we as parents, stuff up. “Look Cynthia, a funny man with a beard covering his face. Why don’t you go and sit on his knee without mumma and have your photo taken. Awww look Cynthia, he’s got a present for you!” FAIL.

2. Violence. Smacking is a controversial thing in our society. Remember the ‘good old’ days when your father took a wooden spoon, stick or belt to your rump? A while ago, my daughter lashed out at me and hit me on the arm. Now, I don’t often smack my kids but this was a big “no, no”. I held her hand and gave it a quick smack while saying, “Don’t hit”. FAIL.

3. Snacking. I must confess my love of sweets. Lollies, chocolate, biscuits, cakes; you name it, I’ll eat it. However, I am very aware of what my kids eat; they have limited snacks each day. I’m trying to teach them good eating habits that they can carry with them into the junk-filled teenage years and beyond. Do I practice what I preach? Ah, sometimes, yes, sometimes, no! In our house there’s ‘adult’ food and ‘kids’ food. Unfortunately for my kids, adult food is more fun! Perhaps that means that when they are adults themselves, they will go loco with the sugar!? FAIL

4. Manners. At meal times, I take the opportunity to teach my children manners. We have a chart on the wall, an illustration of dos and don’ts to make it easy for the little monkeys to remember. They include things like, “don’t talk with food in your mouth, do sit in your chair, do lean over your plate…”. As my son has often pointed out, “Why do adults talk with food in their mouth?” My answer: “Adults have more to say and more to do.” Double standard. FAIL.

Summary section: I think it’s good that parents fail a little. It’s even better if we can laugh at our failures and move on with our lives. Ha ha! Double standards. Whooo hoo, hypocrisy. It’s not that we want to confuse the little darlings with our duplicitous behaviour. What we want is for them to know we are human and we sometimes get it wrong, so they, too, can feel free to stuff up.