With the amount of bullying that exists in this world, you would think that parents would want to do better.
Regardless of your religion, race, or sexual preference, shouldn’t we all share a common goal of protecting our children? Shouldn’t we all strive to teach them kindness, empathy, and mutual respect? Shouldn’t we give them the opportunity to erase hate?
You might think that the latest playground antics have me frustrated. You might think that another child was mean to one of my children recently. You might think that I’m simply thinking ahead to what might or might not happen during the upcoming school year.
Any of those predictions would make perfect sense. I am, first and foremost, a mom, after all.
But it’s not that that has me concerned. Yes, those things are happening. Yes, kids are learning and practicing negative behaviors. Kids are making choices based on what they’ve been taught and the love they’ve been given (or not, as the case may be).
But what really upsets me is this current generation of parents and parents-to-be.
We can’t fight technology. And, honestly, who want to? The fact that I can keep my home safe from my iPhone both astounds and calms me. The fact that my kids can Facetime or iChat their daddy when he travels makes the long tours much more bearable. And Genius Scan? Don’t get me started on my love of that little gem.
But with the good always comes the bad. The negativity that flies through my Facebook and Twitter streams is alarming. The judgment of parenting styles, celebrities, and breast versus bottle is positively never-ending.
The political hatred clogging my feed as we head toward another big election year leaves me wondering if I might be better off just taking a social media break until the votes are cast. In case you’re wondering, you won’t change my mind by posting five politically fueled graphics per day.
Before you start talking about free speech…let me get to the point.
The point is that it’s up to us, as parents (and adults, really) to consider the trickle down effect. It’s up to us to teach our children to avoid judging, criticizing, and excessive negativity.
That not-so-little part of you that causes you to scream out your feelings to Facebook and Twitter each day doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s with you, growing larger bit by bit, all day. It’s there when you soothe your tired child and it’s there when you attempt to diffuse yet another tantrum.
That kind of negative energy…is just there.
Maybe it feels good for a minute to read some fabricated story about the latest celebrity breakup or to weigh in on why you made the right feeding choice and someone else did not. But those emotions? Are temporary. They don’t solve the problem long term.
And…kids pick up on everything. They know when you’re stressed, they know when you’re tired, and they know when you’re overwhelmed. They just know.
When you experience the emotions that might lead to negative postings or negative online interactions, take a break. Step back. Think about why you feel the way you feel.
Grasp that teachable moment, and show your kids a healthy way to handle negative emotions. Make a positive choice in the face of negativity, and teach your children to do the same.
You’re children are watching you, that much I know for certain. Pay attention to that trickle down effect and teach your children to erase hate.
Differences will always happen…but hatred and negativity are choices that people make. You have the opportunity to raise a better, more positive generation of people.
Take it. You won’t regret it.