Bad habits creep in and sneak up on us as parents all the time. Nail biting. Slouching at the table. Shuffling feet. Tapping pencils. Chewing gum like a barn animal. Some days the reminders are many and the encouragement is sparse. God knows our job is not easy.
But one habit in particular snuck into my house over the last few weeks, and I wondered how many of you may notice it in your own abodes after this post.
I give an “order”… A simple, easy-to-follow go-and-do-this- before-dinner- and I even add a “please.” My wonderful child corrects me, assuming I must have asked the wrong child, forgotten that it is someone else’s zone, or that they have something else to do instead. A few minutes go by and I ask someone else a question…and again, I am (politely) auto-corrected. Some insignificant detail…but still. Not but ten minutes go by, and when I ask a third child if they had completed the last task I gave them…BLAM. Auto-correct again.
This has really been quite a bee in my bonnet. It seemed everywhere I turned I was being tit-for-tatted about wee little things and hadn’t heard a “yes ma’am” in weeks. Finally at breakfast I nailed what the problem was.
“STOP AUTO-CORRECTING ME!”
Silence. For the first time in a month.
You see, habits sneak up and sometimes as a parent I can feel the itchiness of the problem but words don’t come easy to explain what the heck it is that is making me so frustrated…but at breakfast, I knew I had them with that perfect description.
“Every time I tell ANY of you to do something you are constantly giving me some sort of answer back that never includes a ‘Yes Ma’am!’ I don’t know where or how this started but it stops today!”
Auto-correct was a term they understood instantly. And with a few reminders, a couple of playful yet admonishing whacks on the backside and I can tell you the problem is 95% improved.
But here’s where I see real trouble…
Lots of you young mommies think it’s cute when junior corrects your mistakes. You think it is funny and endearing when he calls you out about something or argues intelligently with you as a young child. “Isn’t he smart? So precocious? So intelligent and witty?” And what I can tell you is that a young child who corrects his parents constantly will grow up to be very “wise in his own eyes” and will eventually completely lose respect for their parents and most forms of authority.
So I had my work cut out for me this week…and hopefully if you see this bad habit sneaking it’s way into your home, recognizing it and calling it something like “auto-correct” will help your child see the fault and hopefully end the habit. But you parents of wee ones, please be cautious when your child begins to think it’s acceptable to constantly correct you or is consistently looking for faults in you. I can tell you that habit will quickly become a mindset that is not so easily broken.