Previously published in Examiner
conclusion of the role modeling series
Montreal parents are concerned that some of the aggressive behaviors learned in childhood will be continue into adulthood.
Sexual abusers are often products of abuse themselves. Men who beat their women often were beaten by their parents or witnessed their fathers beating their mothers when they were children.
Of course there are individuals who either revolt against their aggressors, mimic their aggressors, or become the absolute opposite as an adult.
However, many more do not know what they are doing is unacceptable. Many abusers must go for therapy to help heal from their past and learn how to behave in an acceptable manner. Still, others never learn and spend their lives in jail.
Parents are not the only influence on children. Children are influenced by their peers, the media, magazines, posters, DVD’s, television, video games, and more. The environment is full of examples that influence the minds of young children. Over the years, children have mimicked the actions of comic book characters such as Superman; imitating the ability to fly. Sadly, some children have been seriously injured or even died from jumping off of roofs, thinking they could really fly.
Parents will often say one thing; yet, do another. Parents will tell their children not to drink or smoke; yet, they do, and that is the behavior children will be modeling. Parents may tell their children not to lie because it is wrong. Nevertheless, when it is time to get onto a bus, Montreal parents tell the bus driver that little Johnny is 4 years old so they do not have to pay the fare when little Johnny is really six years old. These parents are indeed teaching our children to lie even though they may not realize it.
Research has shown that modeling is more an effective behavior than preaching. A parent or adult can tell children what they like. However, children learn best by watching others.
The message here is that we must be careful about what our children are watching because anything can be a Bobo doll (see previous articles for explanation of the Bobo Doll experiment)
Montrealfamilies.ca is a wonderful service providing all kinds of information from adoption, sexual abuse, and parenting courses. The service includes eldercare, women shelters and so much more.