Google+ Consumer Psyche: Monkey See Monkey Do

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Monkey See Monkey Do

Read a superb article in Bangalore Mirror today!

My daughter and I were at a green traffic light once, when a pedestrian ran across my path (avoiding eye contact, of course), forcing me to step on the brakes in a hurry. Now jay walkers, I was prepared for. I customarily stare them down, hoping to thus hurt them in the brain or something.

What I wasn't prepared for, was hearing my 3-year-old quickly add - “Idiot!”

I turned around, aghast, and she smiled sweetly, as if she’d helped me out. The next 10 minutes were spent in quiet self-examination. Wow! I didn't even know I was judging people aloud. What else was I saying that this sponge was absorbing and replaying in the correct (and possibly - incorrect) context?!
I watched myself from that day on and realized the many things I was doing, including frowning incessantly and saying ‘Okay, hmm’ when I was distracted and not really following her stories.  Mums and dads who act surprised when daughter slams a friend at a party, or uses inappropriate words, here’s the rough guide to the things your child is learning from you; evident or not.
Do YOU keep house rules? Last week, I heard myself tell my toddler – “If you beat your sister, I will whack you. No beating allowed here, ok?” He hit her anyway. In my head, I slapped myself. Outwardly, I added sheepishly, “Only mum is allowed to beat anyone," and walked away before I dug a deeper hole.
Being polite to all people alike? Your son is not going to respect people if he doesn't see you do it – key word – consistently. And when there’s a forced kindness to ‘people who matter’ while you’re trying to belittle the waiter at a restaurant, your little guy will soak in the messed-up system and probably mess up many times before he perfects/decodes your parenting lesson.
Are you lying while they’re listening? I know a little child who lies effortlessly and that had me stumped till I met the dad – a friendly guy who once picked her up late from our house after a play date. He then promptly dialed her tuition teacher from our place and said: “Sorry ma’am, she’s skipping tuition today. We got delayed at a family function.”
Are you talking behind peoples’ backs? Monkey see, monkey do. Been there! One Sunday, my mum sat next to a tireless, talkative nun and told my grandma all about it when we returned home. A few days later, on Commercial Street, I remember yelling out – “Hey ma, there’s the ‘yappy nun’ from church!”
Do they see you as trust-worthy? Kids learn quick, that if you’re talking about someone to them, you’re talking about them to someone. This is a precious finding, especially if you have a tween/teenager at home. Keep your lips locked, mum; or your daughter will shut you out.
Showing mercy on the road? Your child will grow up learning to be tolerant, and that’s a good thing. Obedience to the law of the land will come from imitation, and without the need to be judgmental.  A drive presents endless opportunities to talk about poverty, traffic rules and big life lessons.
Do you listen? Listening to your children will teach patience and give them the feeling of being valued. They will feel loved and know that their voice means something. Being a pushover will never be an option and you will have led by example!
Most of all, keep your word. Sponges have ears. Big brother may not be watching, but little daughter is; and that’s way scarier.
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