Last month I introduced some insights from Dr. Kevin Leman’s book, Have a New Kid by Friday. In that letter I talked about his three pillars of your child’s self worth; Acceptance, Belonging, and Competence. Our parenting during our child’s infancy through preschool years sets the foundations for self worth. We show our acceptance and love even when we disapprove of his behaviour. Belonging to us, our family, and community is established as we treat him as special and teach him that he has responsibilities because he belongs to us. And we encourage his competence in tackling and succeeding in new tasks.
Another section of Dr. Leman’s book highlights the top 3 long-term concerns of parents: Attitude, Behaviour, and Character. For those of you who have infants, these concerns may sound like they are far off. Let me assure you, the time will pass all too quickly and you will be wanting a refresher on how to shape a child’s attitude, behaviour, and character.
In this letter I just want to touch on the first of these three: Attitudes.
Attitudes are better caught than taught. What attitudes would you like your child to develop? Do you see attitudes in your child that you want to irradicate? Start by taking a hard look at the attitudes your little one is seeing modeled in your home. Are you moody? Is your husband easily angered? Is his child-minder critical? Is his sister cheerful? Children mirror the attitudes they live with. So the first step to developing good attitudes in your children is to have good attitudes yourself and in your home. Our attitudes show through our behaviour and children are always watching.
This reminds me of the following quote:
“If A Child…
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.”
Attitudes have everything to do with how we live our life. They have everything to do with how we behave. And they have everything to do with the character we develop. So our foundation for behaviour and character is in our attitudes. That is why it is so important that we deal with bad attitudes well when they show up.
Next month we will focus on behaviour. Then over the following months we’ll look at some specific problem areas and ways to deal with them.