Earlier this week I was listening to the radio while driving. It’s just a couple weeks before Christmas so of course most of the radio banter is Christmas related. They started talking about a new TikTok trend of parents having a fake Grinch break into the house and steal all the toys in front of the kids. Kids are screaming and crying. Parents are laughing. The Grinch bolts out of the house, gifts, stockings and sometimes even the tree dragging behind him.
The parents are laughing.
While their children cry.
Another viral video for a social media win.
When my kids were toddlers I remember something similar… parents would wrap up fake presents and then throw them in the fire when their kid “misbehaved”. Again, this ends with the kids crying, and the parents laughing.
The parents laughing, at their crying kids.
And we wonder why bullying is such a big issue in our schools…
What if we were actually kind to children? What if instead of tricking them, teasing them and manipulating them, we were respectful and kind?
If parents were kinder to their kids, their kids would be kinder to others.
If parents respected their kids, their kids would better respect others.
If parents listened to their kids, their kids would listen better to others.
We are the teachers. We are the models. Our children will behave as we do.
I’ve worked with a lot of “difficult” children over the years – Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, depression, anxiety – and I can always tell which kids are treated well at home and which ones aren’t. When a five year old erupts in f-bombs while struggling to get his shoes on, you know that his poor motor skill are met with impatience and frustration at home. When an eleven year old shuts down and isolates herself when feeling hurt, you know her experience of the world doesn’t get the respect it deserves from those most important to her.
No, we can’t be perfect parents. There are days we are going to be tired, stressed and worn out. That’s normal and kids can understand that because they also have days when they feel tired, stressed and worn out. And those days are excellent opportunities to show them respect, to treat them with the sort of understanding and kindness that would warm our own hearts on a tough day.
Although each child is unique, with their own eccentricities and emotional needs, as parents we are their most important teachers and how we treat them teaches them how to treat themselves and others. The parents uploading Grinch “break-ins” to TikTok are teaching their children that getting a viral video is more important than caring for the people we love and it’s ok to be unkind to others as a form of entertainment.
I think these same parents need to rewatch The Grinch (and take notes!). They seemed to have missed the lesson in the story because in the end, the Grinch chooses to be kind because little Cindy Loo was kind to him. It’s actually quite simple, if more parents were kind to their children, their children would learn to be kind too, to themselves and to others.
Struggling with challenging behaviours at home? I’d love to help! I offer Family Coaching, a creative and collaborative approach that focuses on positive interventions to increase cooperation, kindness and respect in the home. Click here to read more about working with me.