Before I became a parent, I knew that the Mac-Man and I would have to become role models for the children and that it would extend into almost all areas of our lives. This meant our language, our behaviour, our routines, our habits, what we ate, everything.
They observe more than we realise. Even now, my toddler leans over her little sister and says, “Hello, sweetie,” because she’s heard me call her sister “sweetie”. The other day she burst out an, “Oh, my Lord!” because she has obviously heard me say it. Initially, she was more likely to brush her teeth if I did it with her. She agreed to start eating broccoli because Abby (Cadabby from Sesame Street) did it. I’m mindful if she sees us sneaking a chocolate before dinner, she’ll want one and how can I say, “No” when I am “breaking the rules”?
Given all this, one of the areas I’ve been thinking about lately is how to role model friendships to her. As I mentioned in my post last Tuesday, Who’s your BFF?, I don’t have many friends living nearby. We almost never have house guests nor hold dinner parties. Then I realised I seldom saw my parents do this when I was growing up. Is this why I’ve never felt the urgency to do so? It was never role modelled for me?
I know some friends invite people over often, or at least more often than we do. It looks like it could be fun. But it also looks like a lot of work. Knowing me, I’d want to put a lot of effort into it, not just offer a slap-dash evening for guests. Maybe some people are born to be hosts. Or are they?
Then there are the more important aspects of role modelling friendship such as teaching communication, respect, loyalty, conflict resolution, love and laughter. This is a little hard to do when I don’t have much of an opportunity to lead by example.
My toddler has a “best friend” at childcare and we had nothing to do with the development of that relationship. Maybe role modelling doesn’t play much of a part at all. My oldest daughter is only 33 months (today) so I have a long way to go, as she grows up, to figure this out.
Is this something you have thought about with your children? Do our friendships, or relationships in general, even play a part in shaping the relationships our children have? What opportunities do you have to role model friendships?
I’m linking with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.