(Photo courtesy of Horia Varlan )
Kids really are sponges. They hear everything, they see everything, they feel everything and they store away all that knowledge for the proper time.
Once again I woke up today with a number of different topics whirling around in my head as potentials to write about. In fact I should say I got out of bed, because if you didn’t really sleep, can you wake up?
My 3 1/2 year has been having a dreadful time with sleeping. Actually, I don’t know for sure what she feels about the topic so I will change that to read: her poor sleep deprived parents have been having a dreadful time sleeping because she likes to wake them up every night. I think I can count on one hand how many times she has not woken up at least once a night in the past few months.
We have tried everything. She hated her room, we moved her in with her older sister. That worked well………for one night, maybe two. She wanted a light, we leave on a light. We cut out a nap. We gave her a nap.
But like usual I have digressed. I was just trying to get to the point which was that I ended up sleeping with her from the middle of the night because she was crying and her poor 12-year-old sister needs to be able to sleep so she can actually keep her eyes open at school. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep and when she started making noise already at 6:20am, I started to get annoyed and told her so.
(Photo courtesy of Gwydionwilliams )
When the kids all got up, I crawled back into my own bed. Hubby got them out to school, but the little
devil child one goes a bit later. She was playing downstairs and hubby came back upstairs to our room to get ready and he tells me that little N told him that Eema (mommy in Hebrew) is angry at her. I replied to him uh huh! and told him the tales of the night past. He was totally behind me on that one even though the little one usually twists him around her little itty bitty finger.
This is not the first time by any means where she has correctly interpreted emotions of the people around her and put them into words. Her siblings are adept at that as well.
It is not only the emotions they learn about and pick up. They hear our words, our stories, they see the way we act. They sense who we like and who we don’t. They sponge everything up. This can be potentially really embarrassing for their parents. Right now my mind has blacked out specific embarrassing examples (defense mechanism I think), but I know they have caused me to squirm many a time.
It was that incident this morning with my little one as well as a blog post and an article I read this morning that led me to write about this topic today.
Children learn from the way we treat ourselves and think about ourselves. This morning I was reading this parenting article by Dara Squires. She was talking about how her 3 year old daughter was already internalizing messages about how she was not beautiful enough. It is a good article and that example was just a part of the whole article.
Then I read this blog post by a single mother and her kids reactions to a big decision going on in their lives. Again, it was evident to me how much kids understand and perceive from things going on around them
My point is that kids absorb everything. They absorb things you don’t even think they notice. They know when their parents are fighting even if they never see them argue. They know when you are unhappy, excited , sad….. They seem to know everything-except how to do their chores without being asked but yet again I digress.
As parents, we need to remember that. We need to be up front about our feelings. When kids ask if you are upset or sad and you say no everything is fine, they know you are lying. They then don’t exactly know how to reconcile the difference between what they are seeing and what you are saying. It is confusing.
I am not suggesting we tell them our whole life story. I am just saying it is okay to admit we are not perfect and something is troubling us but we are working it out.
We also have to watch how we talk. That of course is obvious to all us parents who have had the kids all of a sudden blurt out curse words or inappropriate phrases in front of other people. Not too charming!
Most of all I think we have to work on ourselves and live our life the best way we possibly can. If we are judgmental with ourselves whether it be about our bodies or our skills, our children learn from example. The same goes for us being judgmental about others.
Our children learn what they live. There is an amazing poem by Dorothy Law Nolte called Children Learn What They Live. It is amazing and I highly recommend everyone read it and remember to live by it. The link to it is here.
Our kids are sponges. They absorb everything both good and bad. That can be bad news at times, but if we remember they are always watching and learning, then we can make sure they do learn positive things by examples we set for them. I know easier said then done, but definitely something to strive for.