Modeling your own behavior to provide a consistent, positive example for your child
Take a look at this example of a parent being a model. As you read, think about these questions:
- Is this parent being a positive role model?
- Do his words and actions match?
- Is he being honest with himself about his own actions?
- How might you handle a similar situation with your child?
||Marco and Sabby (Age 2)1,14
What’s the Story?
Marco cares for his son Sabby on the weekends. Now that Sabby is
walking and talking, Marco has to watch him more closely so that he
doesn’t get into trouble. A few weekends ago, Sabby stuck a metal
bookmark into an electrical outlet that Marco leaves uncovered so that
he can plug in the coffee maker in the morning. Sabby blew out all the
fuses in the house, but luckily was not hurt. Despite Marco’s scolding,
Sabby still goes near the outlet when he gets the chance.
I don’t know why he keeps doing it. I’ve told him “no”; I’ve said
“bad”; I’ve told him he could get really hurt. But he still goes over
to that outlet.
What's the Point?
Sabby may still show interest in the outlet because
Marco’s words don’t match his actions. Marco tells Sabby, “no”; but Sabby
sees Marco put the coffee maker plug into the outlet. Sabby doesn’t know
the difference between the plug that’s supposed to go in the outlet and other metal objects that shouldn’t.
Sabby is at this age, Marco needs to cover the outlet with a safety
cover anytime the coffee maker is not plugged in. Then Sabby won’t have
the chance to get into it. When Sabby is a little older (three or so),
Marco can explain the details of safe materials, dangerous materials,
and electrical outlets.
He could also tell Sabby that only grownups are allowed to touch
electric outlets. It seems as though Marco is trying to get this across
by saying, “no” or “bad,” but he only assumes that Sabby knows what he
means. Kids, especially young children, will copy what they see even if
they don’t fully understand it. Sabby’s action is a dangerous behavior
that could cause him serious harm. Marco needs to take immediate action
to ensure Sabby’s safety.