I don’t think we, as a society, do. They see and hear EVERYTHING, yet we act like they are too young to understand or to let it affect them. Ironically, parents allow their children to have technology privileges too young, they allow them to watch inappropriate TV (or at least allow it to be on in the background), they play inappropriate music and have inappropriate conversations in front of them. So, in these cases, parents treat their children like full grown WISE adults able to decipher between what is healthy and not so healthy for the heart and mind. But then, they turn around and hover over them, making their decisions and clean up their messes (figuratively and literally).
The most recent example of this was yesterday at our library class. This class is designed for 24-36 month olds and is mainly to help them with their literacy. They sing with movements, read, and introduce a letter. More importantly, they learn to sit quietly while the instructor speaks, paying attention with focus. They also learn to be kind and share their square if need be. There were two moms in the back of the class carrying on in conversation as their LO’s climbed all over them not paying attention. (Their moms would say they are too young to understand the class anyway!) Well, no wonder! The moms were allowing it. Now, their LO’s were much younger (maybe 15-18mos), but believe me, they are watching. The also are getting into routines and it has to start as soon as possible (when they are infants). There is not a magic number of when to start teaching children these skills. You just have to LIVE THEM YOURSELF. These moms are going to wonder why their children won’t sit still or pay attention when they become 2, 3, 4… They will just blame the age and say, “They are just going through that ‘phase’ ya know..”
When will parents take responsibility by being the best role models FIRST? Then, expect the BEST from their kids? Tatum is too young for this class, many would say. I take her to it anyway, and I expect her to ‘pay attention, be kind, and share’. I tell her this BEFORE we go into the class so she knows! Also, she can see others are doing it, especially me (her mommy and role model)
Since I have been introducing her to many skills at such a young age, I find that I’m not struggling with her behavior. Why? Because I set the bar high, believe in her, encourage her and applaud her little successes. I also ‘pay attention, am kind, and I share’. It’s not rocket science. I do treat her older than she is, BUT, I don’t expect her to make wise decisions. That is why she has me…so that is why I still shield her from many things that again, ironically, these same parents allow way too young (for their not so wise toddler).
It was only just today, when I was, again, blown away by her being able to remember something that I had no idea she was getting. I put her lunch down and forgot to bless it. She looked at me and said, “Amen.” Maybe she does have more wisdom than I realize.