Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Adults behaving badly: teaching our kids how not to act

This has been some week in “Adults Behaving Badly”.

First, South Carolina Republican Congressman, Joe Wilson felt a prime time presidential speech to both houses and the nation was an appropriate time to holler out "You lie!" reminding us all of a petulant 8 year old. Although, our president was not speaking a mis-truth and Congressman Wilson has now been formally admonished by the house, I am sure this will just give him more to complain and feel bitter about. Considering the current discourse in our august body politic, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

Then multiple title tennis champion, Serena Williams, displayed an ugly, profanity riddled melt down during a match at the US Open. Brandishing her racket like a weapon, she proceeded to display the most “unsportsmanlike” behavior in the sports history. I couldn't help but think that Serena seemed to have a pretty practiced potty mouth for someone raised Jehovah Witness. I guess money and fame changes everything.

And, now rapper Kayne West, felt that it was his right to grab the microphone away from the Video Music Award (VMA) winner Taylor Swift so that he could drunkenly offer his unwanted opinions about who should have really won. For goodness sake! Where is a good hook when we need one?

Being a positive role model for kids seemed to be so much simpler in my day. And, we wonder why we are having a hard time teaching our kids to be polite, be a good sport, don’t interrupt, don't name call and certainly don’t fight over stupid things.

If this isn't an ideal opportunity to profess "do as I say, not as I do" I don't know one.

Kids aren't stupid. They are little intuitive sponges soaking up input at an alarming pace. There is a lot in our culture to protect our kids from; inappropriate music, TV, movies, internet content to name just a few. But, until now, it seemed somewhat safe to watch a presidential address or a tennis match or a music award show. How naive.

Perhaps we could use this opportunity to point out very bad behavior no matter who does it. A simple statement like, “Wow, even adults do some really dumb stuff sometimes.” could go a long way.

Reinforce to your kids that it is never ok to name call or yell at someone even if you disagree with them. Try to model productive, respectful ways to disagree for your kids. Talk about how things can quickly escalate if allowed and a situation can become dangerous.

And hopefully if our kids get the lesson they can try to influence some of the adults out there who need a manners refresher course.

Teaching good manners to kids resources:

Manners and Etuquette for kids

Rude busters

Kids good manners


Other articles by Seattle Special Needs Kids Examiner:

Late talkers, helpful anecdotes and when Einstein first spoke

Treatment strategies for curing autism nutritionally

Public school, special ed and gifted programs: is it working for your child?

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