Overcoming Shame
December 19, 2017
Correcting the Distortion
December 19, 2017

Preparing Our Children to Be Future Mothers & Fathers

It is a sobering thought to think that our children are learning every day in the normal routine of our homes how to be a husband, wife and a future mother and father. The effort to work on our marriages is more than making us happy, which in itself is worth the effort, but we are also influencing our children by the quality of our marriages. Why is it so important to be honest and authentic with our spouses and children? It is because this is the only way to produce that same authenticity in them. Why is it so important to exercise self-control in our interaction with our family? It is because we are teaching our children how to interact.

Children learn how to control their emotion from watching us—the parents. We can see their progress as they relate to their peers. From very early on we can see how they learn to share and communicate with respect. Only if we value their emotions and are willing to teach them to value another person’s feelings will they learn to communicate with respect. Our children will learn to tolerate negative emotion by showing patience with another person who is upset or angry only if they have seen us do that. If they have felt our impatience and disregard for their feelings and desires, they will do the same to their peers.

Dorothy Law Nolte, a writer and family counselor wrote a poem entitled “Children Learn What They Live,” in which she clearly expresses the challenge of parenting for the future.

If a Child Lives with Criticism
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn what envy is.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn to be confident.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to find love in the world.
If children live with recognition, they learn to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn to be generous.
If children live with honesty and fairness, they learn what truth and justice are.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those around them. If children live with friendliness, they learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If children live with serenity, they learn to have peace of mind.
With what are your children living?i

i Harris, Rachel; Nolte, Dorothy Law (1998-01-05). Children Learn What They Live. Workman Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.

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