Everywhere you look…
… there is somebody serving up sugar for your child to want. If you eat it, is it fair to tell your child they can’t. Shouldn’t we be leading by example.
My daughter and I were at Starbucks waiting for our car to be washed. We had not eaten breakfast and were going to grab egg bites to enjoy while we waited. My daughter asked me if I was going to get a drink. I said I think I am going to get a chai tea latte. She said can I get something? I said “No” because all the drinks she likes are loaded with sugar. She said, “Well it’s not fair for you to get a drink and I can’t, your drink has sugar too.”
How would you have handled this situation?
I know some parents might say I am the adult and a child can’t question what I drink.
Some parents would say the rules don’t apply to them and they only apply to their kid.
And some might actually stop to listen to what their child is saying and think, they have a point. If that is the case, you might find yourself saying “Okay, I won’t get the drink because I don’t need the sugar either.”
I chose to agree with my daughter because what would I be teaching her if I had a drink and she couldn’t. That the rules don’t apply to adults, or that sugar is ok if you are an adult.
I told my mother-in-law the above story and she was shocked that I didn’t get the drink and I listened to my daughter. She said “I was an adult I had earned it.” Of course I said “How did I earn it, I didn’t do anything for it.” She said “You are the adult and she can’t question you.” Then she said “The rules apply to her not you.’ I thought to myself, if I followed her logic, by doing nothing but becoming an adult, I had somehow earned the right to have a drink loaded with sugar and that I can do whatever I wanted. Taken to its extreme, we can do anything we want once we get to our 70’s! How could we expect this logic to help our children. My mother-in-law and I then decided that we were not going to agree, maybe because she is in her 70’s and she is more of an adult than I am. Lol!! (We normally do agree and I love her dearly)
I went away and thought about our conversation. My mother-in-law thinks children should not speak up and just do what adults tell them. I love hearing what my daughter is thinking and I encourage her to share her thoughts. In this case, my daughter was right, I should not be putting sugar in my body any more than she should. I thought she had a great point as she normally does. Sometimes we just don’t want to admit that our children were right because it would mean we were wrong.
I want to lead by example and I want to teach her to lead by example. I want her to be a good leader and if I am doing the exact opposite of what I tell her to do how does that show her how to lead. We should want our children to do what we want them to do because they understand from us why it is the right thing to do.
The next time your child says something and you want to give them the “Because I said so answer”;
Take a deep breathe,
Think of how you would feel if you were told that,
Then ask yourself, “Are they possibly right and that is why I want to respond the way that I do,”
And is this the way you want to lead your child?
Happy Leading By Example!!
about the author
Keri Collins is a children’s author who helps kids and parents better themselves by making better choices. She blogs about parenting and kids’ issues, and offers plenty of tips and other advice.