Unintentional Lessons

There are many mannny things I want to teach my kids about how to be mature, healthy,happy, functioning adults in this world.  I think all of the time about how I want to do this.  I make conscience decisions about rewards and consequences so that I can encourage good behaviour and discourage the bad.  I try to teach good character so that they can grow up to be people of integrity.  All of this is challenging because I’m not the most mature, healthy, happy, functioning adult in the world!  As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, I got me some issues…as do we all, to a point.

Some issues I’m very aware that I’m passing onto my kids.  My temper for instance.  I got it from my mom and my kids will get it from me.  More specifically, J is getting it from me.  It’s just not something in myself that I’ve been able to get rid of.  I’ve definitely improved since my mom but I’ve got a long way to go.  And now J is saddled with the same challenge. 

On  a more minor note, I’ve pretty much (kinda sorta) succeeded in not passing on my fear of creepy crawlies to my kids.  Except for a couple of species, they both love bugs and insects.  J more so, though.  A couple of summers ago, she came up to me wanting help identifying the handful of crawling wormy things she was carrying in her hand and I remember I succeeded in remaining fairly calm when I told her that they were maggots and could she please get them off her hand and come into the house and wash?!  And critters.  She loves to rescue mice from the grips of our cat, Max.  Sometimes she manages to do this quite quickly but other times Max has already had his way with them and the mice…well, they’re not in the best condition.  There was the mouse that she tried to nurse back to health but had the small problem that his insides were – eh hem – on the outside.  She wasn’t the least bit grossed out as I would have been. 

So those are the issues I know about, but what about the issues I’m not aware I’m passing on?  Particularly frustrating because, obviously, I’m not aware I’m doing it!  Until I am…and then is it too late?

J has a very hard time with making mistakes.  She can’t stand making them.  It affects many areas of her learning.  Writing, Math, and lately music.  I was helping her practice music the other day and she broke down in tears because she wasn’t “getting it” and just kept saying, “I CAN”T do it!”.  I was perplexed because I’ve never told her that she had to be perfect.  In fact, many times in many different ways I’ve told her that mistakes are a necessary part of learning.  And I couldn’t recall a concrete example where she would’ve observed me being hard on myself.  Denial?  Perhaps.  Anyway, I decided, she couldn’t have gotten this trait from me.  And Adrian isn’t like this at all.  So, this must be one thing that she got all by herself.  Then then the other day I was relaying this story to a friend and how J kept comparing herself to others who were playing “perfectly”.  I was saying, “It’s like if she can’t do it as well as someone else, she thinks she can’t do it all!”  And BANG!  It was like I was hit in the head with a revelation.  I have thought those very words about myself and writing.  There are many wonderful writers out there and since I can’t write like them that means I’m not a good writer.  Now, I don’t think I’ve ever said that out loud; it’s just been a feeling.  But it’s there, and I’ve obviously passed it onto her somehow…someway.

How annoying that it comes back to me…AGAIN!!!  Grrr.  🙂


About Debbie

I am a stay at home mom of 2 energetic children. I homeschool them as well. I have a great husband who, after 7 years of working away from, finally has a job where he is home every night. We are trying to learn how to live together again along with adjusting to the lower pay that came along with the job change.
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9 Responses to Unintentional Lessons

  1. Beckie says:

    I think sometimes these things are genetic. My kids have some quirks that either my husband or I grew out of years ago, but we are seeing them in our children. Sometimes kids are going to be who they are regardless of all that we do. Of course we do everything we can to try to mold them into the people we want them to be, but genetics are hard to battle. Did that make sense…?

  2. Debbie says:

    Totally, Beckie. 🙂 Basically you’re saying that it’s not all about ME. Huh. What a concept. LOL

  3. Pamela says:

    I watched (listened) to my daughters do that same thing..
    and now I’ve witnessed grand children writhing in mental agony and crying, “I can’t do it.”

    You aren’t the lone ranger.

  4. Joy T. says:

    I used to make a point of screaming bloody murder when there was a spider in my house. I thought if I scared the pants off my kids I could be assured they would never…..ever….bring a spider to show me. Didn’t work. None of them are bothered by bugs or spiders and they used to get quite a kick out of ‘showing’ mom their eight…ten?…many… legged friends. I failed to mentally scar them like I had hoped.

  5. Debbie says:

    LOLOL! Thank-you SO much for the laugh, Joy!! You’ve reminded me again that I can take myself too darn seriously…which J also does, by the way. 😉

  6. Debbie says:

    Thanks, Pamela. You’ve put some perspective on this. Hmmmm. I’ll have to ask my mom if I did the same thing.

  7. Janet says:

    Oh, I SO hear you on this one. I am horrified sometimes by the things my kids pick up from me. And it’s almost always the BAD things!!!!

  8. Heather says:

    What a huge revelation for you!!!

    When things aren’t going smoothly in our home and with the kids behaviours…I try to first look to myself. “What am I doing, not doing…what can I do or not do to make it different & better?” If I focus on what I can change the problem usually goes away. Having kids has made me see all my imperfections and learn from my mistakes.

  9. Dawn says:

    I think it is largely a girl thing but boys can be that way sometimes too, especially when it comes to things less natural for them. I was the same way as a kid. When as an adult I had to draw a human figure, it all came back to me about when I was 6 and I had to draw me for homework. I couldn’t draw a photograph, so I couldn’t do it. I have worked on it my whole life and still I might like what I do, but I often think someone can do better at many things, and that is because they can and that’s okay. I can still do it to the best of my ability. And that is where I have failed to teach my kids to cope with not doing something as well as someone else, or maybe it just takes more time.

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