Advice Column, Child, Health, Tween & Teen Advice

Do your children know what integrity is?

In the current political climate of the country, I am struck by how intolerant everyone seems to be. I hate politics. Quite frankly it bores me. Yes, I know it’s important and I do vote, and I realise I can’t go through life being ignorant of what is happening around me, but mostly I choose to ignore it. I admit it.

My name is Natalee and I’m an anti-politics person.

Why? 

Because it frustrates me. I feel like people are hypocritical. They may say one thing, but act in direct contradiction to their words.  What they really believe in their heart of hearts is not always how they behave. It’s like voting for one party when it’s a municipal vote, because that will suit you better, but then voting another way for the national vote because you believe that will be the right thing to do.

So why am I, a parenting coach, writing about politics? 

I am not.

I am writing about integrity. Consistency. And the future.

And our children are the future. 

Our children are the ones who have to live in this world when we are gone. They are the ones who will have to reap the consequences of the actions we take today and the decisions we make for the country and world.  And their decisions will be a direct result of what we are saying and teaching them at home. So if you want them to live a peaceful existence, grow them in that direction. Don’t allow your opinions to muddy the waters of their minds.

My youngest is almost ten. He is still small and impressionable and hopefully the impression I leave on him dents him in a positive way. But he watches me, more than he listens to me, and I know that when I “quickly check a message” in the car, I am inadvertently telling him that once in a while it is OK to glance at your phone while driving. When I am on the phone, and I say “I’m on my way!” when I have only just left, I am inadvertently telling him that it’s ok to twist the truth a little sometimes. When I tell him I will pick him up early today and he must skip sport because of xyz, I am inadvertently telling him it’s ok to sometimes shirk your responsibilities.

The other day I was in traffic and someone cut me off, purely because she wasn’t paying close enough attention, my son said “Why didn’t you call her an old goat mom! That’s what you usually say!”

It’s humbling to be called out for things you do that are leaving an impression. An impression you don’t really want to leave. I remember when I was studying developmental psychology, there was a cartoon in my textbook of a mom standing watching her little girl playing, and the little girl was sitting on her floor with her doll across her lap, giving it a spanking with a speech bubble that said, “I told you not to interrupt me when I am busy!”

I remember the impression that left on me.

And yet, here I am, fumbling through motherhood, doing what I believe is right. Mostly.

But not always consistently. I’m a blimming politician in my own home!

If you ask me what kind of adults I want my children to be, I will tell you they should be happy, fulfilled, caring, kind people with ambition and integrity, and live passionate lives.

But do I live that and model it every day? Am I modelling the type of adult I want them to be? Or is it a case of ‘do as I say and not as I do’?

Do we have integrity?

What we do and how we act, has more impact on them that what we say. So watch that your actions echo your words. Because your children are watching exactly that.

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