Let’s face it, we hear the saying all the time “kids are mean” or “kids are cruel”. But why is that? Has anyone ever stopped to think about it? We say it like we condone it, like it’s okay. But it’s not…it’s not okay. And it’s time someone spoke up.
Why are kids mean? Because their parents are mean. Because their siblings are mean (who also got it from their parents). This shouldn’t be shocking to anyone. It’s just never talked about. Ever seen Mean Girls? Well they grow up and eventually become mean adults and mean parents. And it’s not just women. Men are mean too.
I know, I get it. Parenting is tough. I struggle daily with it. But our children are sponges and if we don’t stop to think how we’re acting or what we’re saying then we shouldn’t be surprised when we see them doing it. A month or so ago my husband asked my daughter to come help him change her brother’s diaper. She told him no so he asked her again trying to coax her a little this time. She looked at him and said, “Daddy, I can’t do everything”. I couldn’t even keep it together. I thought it was the funniest thing ever. Later I sat and thought about it. She’s heard me say this to my husband and she’s picked up on it. At that point, it no longer was funny but actually frightening.
If we yell at our children they are going to learn that yelling is okay. Maybe I’m getting an eye roll now but hear me out. I’ve yelled. And now I watch my daughter yell. She yells when she’s mad because she’s seen me do the same thing. It breaks my heart. Because I didn’t and don’t always have self control in some moments, my daughter has now learned when she’s mad she can yell because I have.
What are we teaching our children? Are we really thinking about the things we say in front of them? Do we know when we think they’re not listening or can’t understand they actually are and really do?
Bullies don’t create themselves. Mean girls don’t just wake up mean. It’s behavioral. It’s a learned behavior. And it starts at home.
I’m tired of the excuses or the lies. “Oh my child isn’t mean.” Denial. Get out of denial! You don’t think your child is mean because you yourself don’t know you’re mean! Self awareness is crucial.
Don’t confuse me here, I understand about discipline but I also understand there are better ways to do it. I’ll be the first to admit my flaws, but that doesn’t mean I’m not trying like crazy to be better. We all must be better. We must be better parents for our children. We must be better for our future.
I want to stop the vicious cycle. I want to stop the mean parents and the mean kids. ‘Love thy neighbor’ is one of the Commandments for a reason.
If you’re a parent, I hope you really stop and think how you act in front of your children and the things you say. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but let’s try to teach our children to love and never hate, to accept and never judge, to speak kindly and respect one another. But most of all, let’s show them. To see change, we need to be the change.