Children are watching
April 22, 2013
by Jenni Sebora

I had a “mother moment” the other evening. I was in my son’s room, putting some items away, when I saw a pile of essays that he wrote for his English class. I picked them up and started browsing through them. One of the essay topics was to write about someone they admire.

I delved into the contents. The last sentence in the first paragraph read, “I will choose someone I genuinely know; my mother.”

That’s me. I must read on. They had to write about three qualities of the person they admire. My heart was just melting.

He went on to write that I was hardworking, generous, and, lastly, that I know how to handle situations.

He wrote about how high school can be difficult with peers – drama and arguments.

“But, over the years, I have learned from my mom that I need to stay calm and ignore things. I have learned from her that I need to say what is right, not what necessarily will make me win. Do not dwell on something if it is useless. Be kind,” he wrote.

Wow. Well. I must say that tears were welling up in my eyes as I read this. I felt warm and fuzzy. My kids actually listen. My words and actions are not going unnoticed by my children.

I did not tell him that I read it, nor did I ask him about it. I put it back in his pile of compositions, but the words and sentiment will remain with me forever.

I do talk with my children about being kind to others and not getting caught in the drama of peer arguments. Ignore what you think you should. Don’t fester on the negative conversations. Don’t give credence and power to those negative comments from people.

I always tell them to question, “What purpose is the negative conversation/drama serving? What is the purpose in a discussion about what someone is wearing, or whatever the topic may be. How does it affect you? Be calm.”

Be kind. Don’t forget about those peers who may not be seen as part of the popular bunch. It is amazing what a nice greeting can do for someone. Everyone wants to be recognized as an individual worth befriending.

This is what I talk about with my children. Respect. Kindness. Compassion. Everyone has feelings. Regard people’s feelings.

Being a teen can be difficult. We, as parents, need to lead the way in how they treat others. We need to talk with our children about respect and doing the right thing. We need to model this for our children.

If we have these discussions with our children early on, in terms of their age and development, they will then be better equipped to deal with situations.

Not getting caught in peer drama can be difficult, but if we teach and show our children kindness and respect – those qualities will become part of their repertoire.

Being a parent is hard work. It is ongoing, never ending, but the most worthwhile job in the world. As I read that composition, I thought about so many kids who admire their parents.

A parent is who our children know best, and has the greatest impact on them. My son’s words reminded me of how important our job is.

They are listening and watching, because we are their teachers, their protectors, their nurturers. My son’s words are reminders of that.

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