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Dutchess_III's avatar

Can you think of some examples of small, seemingly "inconsequential" acts that adults may perform in front of their children that can have a profound impact on the child?

Asked by Dutchess_III (40260points) July 29th, 2013

Someone I know created a facebook page for her 9 year old daughter. Right in front of the kid she said, “Oh, I told them she was 18 or they wouldn’t have let me make an account for her.”

That was so wrong on SO many different levels, in my opinion. Just making a fb page for her was wrong, IMO, but to so casually lie like it was no big deal was really a shock to me.

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38 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes lying to others in front of your children is astonishing.

An overuse of profanity in front of children bothers me.

They’re bad enough on their own. I don’t think they make good child rearing tools.

Pandora's avatar

Belittling your child and calling them names like stupid.
Comparing them to another child. Even when it is not what you meant to do. Like asking them; “Why can’t they do something like so and so?” It brings down a childs self-esteem and you get the opposite of what you were hoping for.
Punish the child without explaining that it is the behavior you disapprove of and not the child him/herself. Should always tell them that you love them but loving them does not mean that you will ignore bad behavior because that is something they have control over.

tups's avatar

Saying narrow-minded and judgmental things. I hate it when I see parents saying all kinds of narrow-minded shit to their children, forming their minds into something as ignorant and bigoted as their parents. I just hope that they will encounter openminded people one day.

ragingloli's avatar

smoking, drinking alcohol, watching fox news, driving without a seatbelt, praying.

Headhurts's avatar

Arguing with the other parent

SuperMouse's avatar

Smacking your kid because they hit another child and saying “we don’t hit!” Fighting in front of your children.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Swearing gets to me. I can’t stand when parents swear in front of their kids. Hell, even as an adult, I don’t like cussing in front of my Dad.

Aster's avatar

@ragingloli I grew up around adults smoking, cursing and drinking beer. It seemed normal to me. I wanted a praying family, that is , the same people who would also pray at meals and talk about God but it never happened. So I just developed , on my own, some religious beliefs. Well, at church that is. They never attended.
I think a father who prays sincerely before a move or a meal would have the potential to have a huge impact on a child’s life if he wasn’t hypocritical.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SuperMouse Yeah! And smacking them for saying a “bad word,” and yelling “You don’t fuckin’ say shit like that and you know it!”

janbb's avatar

On the other side, I think if your kids seeing you be courteous and friendly to all kinds of people, you are modeling unbiased and humane behavior. Done naturally and on a regular basis, that has a profound impact on children.

Aethelwine's avatar

I was going to say the same as @janbb. My children are respected by their peers because they learned how to respect others at an early age.

ucme's avatar

Yep, I can think of tons of examples where it has nothing but positive effects on their attitudes.
As for negative reactions, wearing socks with sandals, attending Nascar events & purchasing them Justin Bieber albums can lead to irreversible mental health issues in later life.

Pachy's avatar

Drunkenness. Neither of my parents was a heavy drinker, but I still recall seeing my mother tipsy at a party and feeling frightened. That was almost 60 years ago.

I also recall around the same period watching my mother argue with an employee at a laundy. Mother was a very shy and passive woman, so seeing her angry enough to tell at a stranger was quite a shock and again, one I always remember when I have a to-do with a retailer.

Judi's avatar

Bad mouthing others.
Parents who continually bag on their parents or in laws in front if their children are begging for karma to bite them in the ass.
Even worse, bagging on the absent parent. That can really mess a kid up.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When I was about 12 I criticized someone about something. My mom said, “Val! Don’t criticize people!”
I said, “But you criticize Tilly all the time.” (Tilly was her best friend.)
Mom stuttered a little, then said, “Well, that’s different.”
:) Nope, it’s not Mom!

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

When my father was a little boy, he saw his mother find a wallet on the ground, remove and keep a large amount of money, and toss the empty wallet back where she’d found it. This was during the 1920’s, so she didn’t even have the Great Depression as an excuse for stealing.

This had a profound effect on my father. His mother was a supposedly-honest woman who lectured her children and grandchildren about decency, integrity, and the Golden Rule. Even though Dad was very young at the time, never forgot what happened and lost most of his respect for his mother and her “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^^ Wow…..
I remember my mom getting pulled over for speeding in a school zone. She was really upset that the cop wouldn’t let her off because she had a good excuse….all three of us girls were with her for appointments so we weren’t in school so she forgot. I was a kid, but I remember thinking…“Mom…you deserved that ticket….”

Judi's avatar

When my daughter was young we went to a restaurant with my inlaws. They had a little gift shop in the front.
When we got to the car we realized that our daughter had taken a teddy bear out with her.
My husband and his family actually thought it was great. They were appalled when I insisted she go back in and return it.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Judi Good for you. Children learn by our examples, not by our words, and you gave your daughter a valuable lesson in right vs. wrong.

What a pity that your husband and in-laws didn’t share your ethics.

I’m curious – are you still married to the same man? If yes, did he change (i.e. become more honest) as the two of you grew older?

Dutchess_III's avatar

They thought it was GREAT??? What kind of people are they?

ragingloli's avatar

Rule of Acquisition #9: Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.

ragingloli's avatar

And #14: Anything stolen is pure profit.

Judi's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul, no. He commuted suicide when my children were young.
My former MIL had been given change for a $10 when she gave a shopkeeper a 20 when she was newly married and her husband was in the service. She was so angry she felt it gave her the right to rip off any business if they were stupid enough to get took. She wouldn’t overtly shoplift but if they have her to much change or forgot to ring something up that was their problem.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Once upon a time, when I was really really poor, I went to get a money order for $8.00. The cashier was new. When he gave it to me I realized he had made it out for $80.00! His supervisor was standing right behind him (he was in training,) and I slid it back to him and tried to signal his mistake before his supervisor caught it! But he didn’t catch on and the super intervened.

Man…Can you imagine what a free $80.00 would have meant to someone who was making less than $1000 a month!

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Judi How very sad about your husband. And, how unfortunate that your former MIL apparently believed that many, countless wrongs could add up to a right.

flutherother's avatar

I kill an ant
and realize my three children
have been watching.

Shuson Kato

KNOWITALL's avatar

I remember specific sexual contact that was disturbing, but not much else.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Not correcting a cashier who gives you too much change.

Supacase's avatar

Griping at other drivers. Not at the road rage level, which is obviously inappropriate, but the little mutterings of “come on already!” or “geez, who taught you how to drive?”

Name calling of just about any kind.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Supacase I’d use stupid moves by other drivers as a driving lesson for my kids, explaining what the other driver SHOULD have done.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Laughing when a child repeats a cuss word. Talk about reinforcing behavior.

Tit for tat punishment. I hit you because you hit someone. I bite you because you bit someone. And then telling them that two wrongs don’t make a right.

Talking badly about other people in front of your kid.

Cussing, using derogatory language, or prejudice.

Smoking, drinking, drugs (yes, even weed). Any risky behavior, really.

Overprotection of the child. Shielding them from real life as though they’ll never encounter it. This includes lying about real life.

talljasperman's avatar

Peeing off the patio.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Oh, that hit home. So many times I see people laughing at kids being “cute,” and they can’t seem to see beyond the cute of the moment and don’t see the defiance or bad behavior that’s really underneath it. My husband is especially bad about that. “Oh look at how cute little Georgie is, trying to stand on his head in the middle of this busy restaurant!”
Um, when my daughter was 2 she walked up behind me and bit the livin’ SHIT out of the back of my leg! I just reacted out of pain. I whirled around and bit her right back! She yelped. I immediately felt bad, but…she never bit anyone again.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Today I heard a woman say to her child (who was about 11 years old) “why didn’t you like the activity? Was it because the teacher wasn’t very nice to you?” and I thought to myself, why not let the child answer the first question without using the second to put the answer in his head. I hear parents asking these type of questions a lot and they don’t allow the child to think and answer for themselves because the parent has already answered it for them, they just have to agree. Usually this happens when the parents (subconsciously or not) want to influence the child’s decision/answer (and I got the impression from this particular parent that she didn’t want to pay for another course of the child’s activity).

Dutchess_III's avatar

Man, @Leanne1986. That is really wrong in so many ways. Not only did she not let the kid think for herself, she basically said, “If you didn’t like the activity it ‘s the teacher’s fault.”

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, it annoyed me because you have to wonder if the kid ever gets a chance to answer a basic question like “did you enjoy that?” without having other ideas put in his head. I hear it a lot.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I see people manipulating kids’ answers all the time. Usually I don’t think they realize they’re doing it, but I became aware of the tendency early, early on in my parenting and learned to ask open ended, neutral questions.

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