Read up on these 7 negative things that you may be unintentionally teaching your children.
1. Negative Body Image is Normal
Women, in particular, are guilty of this seemingly innocent gesture.
You gaze at yourself in the mirror, pulling and picking at your muffin top, commenting on how an outfit makes you look like a "giant tomato." What you don't realize is that the little eyes of your children are upon you as well. When you constantly put yourself down, you're teaching your children that hating their bodies is the "normal" thing to do.
2. Passing Judgement is Fine
You're on the phone with your best friend, talking about a girl you just saw in Walmart wearing her pajamas. "Who does that? She is so lazy. I would never wear that in public!" Not only are you teaching your children that it's perfectly fine to judge others, but what's worse is that you're teaching them to judge based on appearance. Does someone wearing pajamas to Walmart really make them a terrible, lazy person? What if her baby just ran out of formula?
3. Money is Disposable
Every time you go grocery shopping, your son asks you to buy him a toy. You give in every single time. It may seem innocent, but in reality, you're teaching him that money is disposable, and can be spent on whatever you want, whenever you want. Sometimes, you need to step in and tell your child no. When kids know that they can run to mom or dad for cash, it causes them to devalue money--which could lead to terrible financial trouble in the future.
4. You'll Always Be Around
It's understandable to want to help your child in every way possible. After all, we want what's best for them. Look at it this way. Children are like baby birds. When they're born, we nurture them, love them, and feed them. As they grow, we begin to teach them how to fly so that one day they may be able to leave the nest and no longer have to rely on others to help them survive. Steer your child in the right direction, but don't take the wheel. Let's face it. You won't always be around.
5. Someone Else is Better Than Them
Your daughter has swimming lessons every Friday, but she's just not getting it. While watching her and the other children one day, you say, "Wow, Ashley is a great swimmer! You could take some pointers from her!" Of course, you didn't mean anything by it, but what your child hears is "Ashley is better than me." This encourages low self-esteem and also teaches a child to compare herself to others.
If you want your child to improve, praise her when she does something correctly, instead of praising everyone else and only pointing out her mistakes.
6. Basic Chores Are Rewarded
Rewarding your child for completing daily tasks that he should be doing anyway teaches entitlement. When you're a part of a family, you have to learn to pull your own weight, which is exactly what chores teach. Chores are responsibilities, not a job.
7. Working Sucks
When you come home from work, you take off your shoes, and you start venting about what a terrible day it was and how you're tired of working. Going on about how you hate your job causes your children to associate work with negative emotions. Think about it like this. Do you want your child to view work as a lifelong negative routine, or do you want her to think about it as a career or a calling? Think about what you say, and instead, show children that you reap the rewards of hard work.
From time to time, we're all guilty of unintentionally teaching our child something negative. No one is perfect. However, learning to be mindful of what you say and how you behave when you're around your children can greatly improve their view of the world around them.