Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see – Neil Postman

Being gentle with young children

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Last week, we caught the train to the city for an adventure. Usually we drive or take a bus, so working out the train was fun. I took the train to school every day, but on a different line so it was an adventure for us all.
It was the last week of school holidays and harried families weee everywhere, especially on the trains. We witnessed a lot of parents with their children.

As my children get older, they’ve started to notice other families. In particular, they ways other families speak to their children. Very little of what we see is gentle or kind. Last week, on our trip to town, was no exception.

I admit to being a bit angry with my kids on occasion. Who isn’t? And, I apologise and try to make amends.

What I see are parents snapping at their children for normal behaviour, chiding them rudely or ignoring them. And, my children notice. I hope they notice because we don’t do it to them very often.

If we want to make a kinder, more accepting and more gentle world, surely it starts with how we treat our children?

I found a lot of helpful resources when I was starting out.

I make a lot of mistakes but I try to apologise when I do. Like today when I took a harder line than I needed to and what my child was craving was affection. As Jan Hunt says, children behave as well as they are treated and she reminds us to look behind the behaviour to the message our child is communicating.

I hope others know it’s okay to say, “I’m sorry” to their children.

I want to post more on this in the coming weeks.


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