Friday, November 18, 2005

Mixed Messages

My little girls aren’t so little anymore. They don’t just hear the things my wife and I tell them anymore, they also interpret what we tell them. One of my themes for them is the importance of being appropriately kind to everyone, not just their friends. On the drive to school a few weeks ago, I was reminding my oldest daughter to remember to consider the feelings of everyone who will be affected by one of her decisions before making a the final decision. Her reply to me was that her mommy told her to quit worrying so much about others. Oh boy, talk about mixed messages.

My wife was trying to teach her to be independent, which is also of extreme importance to me, but the message came across to her as an encouragement to be selfish. My girls can jabber until my ears hurt. Yet, this was a good lesson and a reminder for me to always listen to what they are saying when they are talking. It’s not enough for us to teach our children morals. We need feedback to understand all that we are teaching them, so we can correct our mistakes before a wrong lesson becomes permanent.


Teresa said...

Your girls are so great and VERY smart! I learned that lesson with my children too and much of what we say can be misunderstood, I think that if we ask many questions of them more than us telling them, "What do you think about that, What options do you have, What do YOU think the best decision is etc?..". Then when we find out what they are REALLY thinking, we can put in "our two cents". Then I guess we have to ask another question, "What do you think that I have said, in your own words"? That really helps with the spousal communication too. I think that even though our children seem to be getting mixed messages, they learn from both parents different things and they are smart enough to sort through it and make great decisions!!! You both are great parents!!!

David M. Smith said...

Thanks, Teresa.

My girls are a challenge, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. [Except maybe if they wouldn’t talk sooooo much.]