A child follows your example not your advice
The beautiful thing about having a baby is getting to know this little person. Hana is almost 8 months now, and needless to say, lately, there is never a dull day. I got to learn that when someone sneezes my kid laughs out loud, LITERALLY! For some reason she finds it hilarious, so sometimes I just find myself pretend-sneezing just to hear the joyous laugh.
Sometimes Hana has stranger anxiety, if someone rushes to hug and carry her and spoils her instead of being over the moon, she bursts into fits of uncontrollable cries, and I find myself explaining that she has stranger anxiety and of course people then lecture me that she doesn’t socialize much.
Then I realized there is no truth to that. One of my cousins flew in from Qatar for a few days to visit us in Amman, and when he saw Hana he just sat there next to her for a good 15 minutes, talking to her, but not touching, no touching what so ever, until all of the sudden, Hana just reached out her tiny little hand and gave him a smile. The rest is history, the three days that Laith had spent in Amman had Hana as part as his afternoon agenda, they got along just fine, which tossed my stranger anxiety theory straight out of the window!
That’s when I decided that I don’t know enough about my little one, and that the average baby-norms shouldn’t really apply. She is a human after all, aren’t we all? During the past 8 months I have seen and heard Hana make pleasant and sweet happy sounds, laugh, reach out, roll over, sit up, spit up food that she dislikes, open wide for veggies that she was in love with, I have seen her become a human with an opinion – clearly she can’t voice it, but when she chooses veggies over fruits, that’s an opinion in my book, when she closes her lips shut indicating that she is full and turns her head, there is no power in the world that can force feed her, she just simply says no with her little actions.
So why is it that we try to force babies in to certain social norms? There are so many times when I remember my mom telling me to greet her guests when they are visiting, and you know us Arabs, a kiss on each cheek, and sometimes the Auntie who just wants to cuddle? UGH! Like seriously? How annoying, personal space much? I know when Hana is older I will be teaching her not to talk to strangers or touch them, or walk with them, and to scream on top of her lungs if she feels in danger of any sort, so why is it that our social norms push our children to kiss people who we know that are strangers to our little ones to begin with. How about a handshake? If I meet someone for the first time, or if I’m being introducer to someone I don’t hug and kiss them a hand shake would do, and I think the same will apply to my baby girl.
We are asking our children to act in a certain manner while we contradict what we tell them on daily basis. So how do you expect them to change behavior in an environment that we accept of, and do what we tell them in an environment that we are not controlling?
You are a leader to your child, LEAD BY EXAMPLE, define what you think is socially acceptable behavior for your little one, and show them by practicing that as part of your daily life. Parents are the world’s best leaders, and your children are a reflection of what you lead. Don’t be a hypocrite and remember that Actions speak louder than words so, don’t just talk, act on it, & don’t just say, show it.
A child follows your example not your advice. Be the person you want your child to be. This is a promise that I will make to my child and my self today, and every day.
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