Hey Parents, your children are watching. They are listening. And they are learning, from you. We do our best to teach and help our children understand, that being kind to others is one of the most important lessons they will ever learn. We lovingly spend hours, listening to our children, recount their day at school. We are experts at spotting a sad face, or an evasive word in the conversation, which could be a clue to some sort of stress in their day. And we can explore that stress further, and have a good, meaningful conversation about what happened. Then; we can give them the coping tools, the insight, and the confidence to be able to handle that conflict in a peaceful way.
However, actions speak louder than words. How can we tell our children to be kind to others, when they see horrific things on Facebook and Twitter about other people? We may give our children the peaceful way to handle resolution, but they are observing degrading posts about presidential candidates, hateful cartoons , and responses to posts that hold venom and disregard for the person that wrote it. We all need to practice what we are teaching. Think about this, if any of our children were writing the very things that are being written today, by adults on social media, they would be considered to be cyber bullies, and most likely would be suspended from school. It is an incredible freedom that we can all express our opinions, and we should all have a voice. However, it is how you wish to convey your opinion , without attack and bringing someone down, that is the bigger issue.
Free speech comes with responsibility. With respect for one another. The lessons that we are teaching our children about peaceful resolution, need to be the very lesson we take, and hold as our own. We need to be the light in their world, that is already so filled with alarming violence, and way too advanced media programming, for their innocent young minds to handle. They are looking to you for guidance, in such a system overloaded world. Be their safe zone. Be their calm, in the sea of confusion, from what they view everyday on their own phones and on television. Show them there can be a peaceful result, and teach them with your own actions. Show them meaningful conversations exist, and let them observe those that you have.
We can all use these three points when posting to social media, especially now, with the election tomorrow, because they are watching your every move in how you navigate through such a dramatic, sensationalized event:
1. If you would be upset, embarrassed or enraged if you child wrote the words you are about to post, it is not one to post. Remember, no matter a presidential candidate or a famous family, they are still people, and need to be treated as such. Allow yourself the position you wish to make, without the hurtful words towards others.
2. If you cannot share the post with your child, probably a post to delete. The post will be out there for all to see, and even if you think your child will not see it, some child will. Kids are incredibly curious, especially about what their parents are doing, they need a solid role model to emulate. Be that. Be that to all children in fact. Show them responsible posting, and teach them that is a privilege to be able to voice your opinion in kind, constructive ways.
3. If you are okay with your post, but are getting hateful responses, think twice about a quick rebuttal. Most times these are full of emotion, so wait, and let it go for some time. Then, think of how you would want your child to respond, and then go in that direction. Nothing is ever solved by more anger.
Hopefully today and tomorrow, when emotions will be at an all time high, we will all stop and think before posting. The change does begin with each of us. You are so very powerful, and have such an influence on the thoughts and behaviors of our children. Our future.