I’ve been having some conversations with my 8 year old daughter about friendship. Our culture often expects girls, especially, to be “nice”. But is “nice” enough?
Positive Discipline encourages us to think about where we want to end up on the parenting journey: what we hope to see in our children in the long-run. Is “nice” on your list?
I’ll offer “courageous” and “respect-full” near the top of the list instead. I think that respect, especially self-respect, precedes courage.
Friendships are a great place for children to learn about themselves – and not everything inside is something that ought to be nurtured. This is where paying attention as a parent really pays off. Or, maybe you weren’t paying attention and have recently become aware that something is “up” and a new, unpleasant thing is growing right in front of your eyes.
We recently had some “teachable moments” pop up at our house around the subject of friendship. We ended up talking about respect and courage, too.
When friends suggest something that’s disrespectful or mean, it’s going to take real courage to stand up and say “No”, rather than go along with the crowd.
When someone makes a joke at another’s expense, laughing along with the group or standing silently by without speaking up is as bad as being the one who makes the joke. Courage is required to speak up.
Courage grows by using it. I think the opposite is true as well: shrink back from what you know you need to do, and you’ve just weakened that courage muscle.
Guess who is listening and learning from our example?
Our children are watching the way WE live for clues about what we really value. As always, our actions speak louder than our words.
What are our children learning from the examples we set?