It is really true that kids do imitate their parents, and people around them. It can be cute at times but at other times, I really wish they wouldn’t imitate me so much.
At 5 years old, Isabel is a great imitator. Just yesterday, she wanted to play with the spare coins in my car. I told her that she can’t as the coins were dirty. She pleaded again and tried to take it herself. I gave her a stern no and she kept quiet. Very soon, I heard soft sobbing. I didn’t bother about her and left her to continue sobbing. Five minutes later, she stopped.
And then she said, “Mummy, you broke my heart when you talked to me like that. It made me sad.”
I’m like, “Please, I just told you not to play with the coins as they are dirty. I already told you very nicely at first but you did not want to listen.”
“But you still broke my heart,” she insisted.
Sigh…. and she learned that from me. When the kids make me angry, I told them that they were breaking my heart and making me very sad. And now Isabel is saying the same thing to me!
And when the kids cried when they didn’t get what they want, I told them that they can stop crying already because it was of no use as they still won’t get what they want. So when Ethan cried over something he wanted, Isabel just coolly told him, “Ko Ko, it is no use crying. You still won’t get it.” Then she turned to me and said, “Right, Mummy?”
Isabel also imitates a lot of other things that I do. She saw how I washed my face and she did exactly the same. She watched me when I put on my make up and did the same with her toy make up set. There were so many other things I did which I saw she mirrored.
And the scary part was when I told them something which was not supposed to be repeated. Like the things I said behind my husband’s back when I was angry with him. There was a few occasions when the kids repeated what I said to my husband. Luckily, they sounded too cute and I also managed to cover up quickly! Since then, I had been extra careful not to say anything that I do not want the kids to repeat in front of anyone.
There are also other things that I do not want my kids to imitate, such as nagging and having a short temper. Like me, both Isabel and Ethan could go on nagging and nagging for quite a some time. And they both had also learned to have a short temper just like me! I can just see so many of my bad characteristics in them that I wish they would not follow.
As if my bad characteristics are not enough, they also tend to imitate the things that they learned from outsiders.
When Ethan was much younger, he used to throw things around when he was really angry. When he calmed down and I asked him why he did that, he said that the older kids at the babysitter’s place also did the same thing when they were angry.
And just the other day, Ethan was angry over something and I could hear him cursing quietly under his breath. I was really shocked as I did not expect that from him. My husband and I do not utter any foul or rude words when we were with our kids. So when I heard Ethan cursed, I was utterly shocked. Just to make sure I heard correctly, I asked him to repeat what he said. He did not want to repeat it as he knew I was upset with him. I insisted and he finally said ‘f*gger” (which should have been f**cker). To hear that from my 7 year old boy was just too upsetting. I know he doesn’t even know what it means. He couldn’t even pronounce it correctly.
He heard the word from the kids who travel in the same van as he does to school. My gosh, those kids are in the afternoon session with him and that could only mean that the oldest kid there was only 8 years old. Where could they have learned that word from? Their parents? It really makes me wonder why parents curse in front of their kids.
I suppose I can’t stop other kids from saying and doing what they want in front of my kids. The only thing I hope to be able to do is to guide them to know right from wrong. Most importantly, I need to set a much better example for my kids to live by. It will be a tough and long road ahead and I am praying that I can do it!