7 Things I’m Teaching My Kids That I Had to Learn on My Own

I wish I could say that most of what I’m teaching my kids (ages two, three and five), I learned throughout my own childhood, and through my parents. But the truth is I didn’t and I’m okay with that now. I understand that most people only do what they are taught. You know the saying, “do as I say, not as I do”? Well whoever coined that saying obviously wasn’t aware that “actions speak louder than words”. And looking back at how my parents raised me, I can honestly say that a lot of my mannerisms were not things I was necessarily told to do, but things I observed my parents and elders doing. Since I don’t want my kids to have trouble expressing themselves or exuding confidence in themselves, I am doing everything I can (with the help of my hubby of course) to teach them a few things that I had to learn on my own.

Happy Kids family

1. Saying, “I’m sorry”

This is not only teaching my children to say these words, but also showing them that mommy and daddy also say these words. When you are constantly always telling someone to do something that you don’t do yourself, chances are, they’ll stop listening. So not hearing these words growing up, or not hearing my elders say it to each other, only made me not want to say it. I always felt that it had such negative connotation, when in actuality, its humbling and just a part of life. So I teach my kids the importance of these words because one day they’ll have to understand the importance of an apology – whether they are right or wrong.

2. Saying, “I love you”

I previously talked about the importance of saying the words I love you. It was never really said in my household. So when I used to hear my friends saying it to their parents, and vice versa, I always used to think it was strange. But I know what I missed out on as a child not hearing these words (and looking to hear them from all the wrong people). My siblings and I never told each other we loved each other and we hardly ever heard our parents say it. To this day, it still doesn’t feel organic. Obviously I do mean when I say it, but because it took nearly thirty years to hear it, it’s also hard to reciprocate it.

I don’t want my kids to ever feel like this about me or each other, so I tell them I love them all the time. I love hearing them tell each other the same. It shows and I know it makes a difference in how they will show up in this world.

3. Talking to my kids

I don’t remember ever having real conversations with my parents growing up. I’m referring to everyday conversations where more than a couple of words are exchanged. I’m talking about conversations about drugs, sex, money and alcohol to name a few. I’ve had to really make a conscious effort to talk to my kids even though they are still young. I talk to them about life and I encourage them to talk to me and ask me whatever questions they have.  I won’t allow them to learn about sex, menstrual cycles etc through TV or social media.

4. Listening to my kids

Just the other day, I remember trying to finish something up on the computer during the normal time that I should’ve been working with the kids on their lessons (yes it’s summertime, but the learning shall continue). I guess my daughter had asked me the same question a couple of times in which I thought I answered. Clearly I did not because my son told me, “Mom, you’re not listening right now.” I immediately turned to him and told him he was right, and apologized to my daughter, then closed my laptop and finished what we were doing. Just like we expect our kids to listen when we’re talking to them, we want them to expect the same from us. I don’t ever want them to feel like they can’t talk to us about something because we never listen.

Read More => Check out the rest of my article on BMWK by clicking HERE, and then let me know if there is anything you would add to this list?

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  • Rita Kamya
    July 18, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    My sentiments exactly Chriistine. Would like to add another one on your list. Physical touch. I didn't see any hugging in our household when growing up. In adulthood I believed that those that wanted to give me endless hugs were possibly perverts. I am so overjoyed when my daughter offers or asks I & my husband for a hug, out of the blue. Am also glad my husband comes from a culture where physical touch/hugging is as okay as shaking hands. As a matter of fact when you just extend your hand in greeting, it is ignored and you are given a hug(& a kiss 2 times on each cheek) instead. I am still a,"work-in-process", and blessed to have my daughter & husband to teach me that it is okay. In my natibve language Luganda there is a saying, OKUTAMBULA KULABA. Translated: When you travel you see & learn. I pray that we don't miss the opportunity to touch & hug our loved ones everyday.

    • Christine St.Vil
      July 23, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      Hi Rita! Thank you so much for that! Physical touch is definitely a huge part of daily interacting with my kids. Like you, that did not exist in my household either. It’s so wonderful to see the kids give each other hugs and kisses and exchange words of endearment (when they’re on good terms LOL). I pray the same and thank you for sharing.

  • Marg Mak
    July 19, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    Some hugs get uncomfortable :(!!!!! LOL

  • Juliet Kirabo
    July 19, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    Tuvudde wala and can u imagine in Uganda I believe u can't do it in public as they look at it as insanity and an obsene act. Some of us are still struggling to show affection to our loved ones that way most esp around pple as some think we too much or kajaanja ( luganda saying)

    • Christine St.Vil
      July 23, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      Hi Juliet, thanks so much for commenting. You are so right that it’s still looked at in that way, and how we grew up. So there are a lot of other cultures that feel the same. But I really wish they could see the negative effect that it has on the children they are raising.

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