We all have bad moments as parents. There’s no way around that.
We yell at the driver who cut us off, we’re short tempered when we’re tired or frustrated, we let a bad word or two slip.
About a year ago, a cyclist pulled out in front of me on the highway, when traffic was moving about 50 MPH. It was terrifying, I had to slam on my breaks and swerve into the lane next to me, barely missing a big pick-up truck, who also slammed on his horn. I yelled reflexively, calling the cyclist a psycho (mind you, my windows were closed, the cyclist couldn’t hear me).
Just last week, two cyclists on the same stretch of highway were riding just fine, obeying laws, not being reckless, and my older son said, “What a bunch of jerks.”
It occurred to me what degree our kid really do watch us, and internalize our behavior. In this case, my son extrapolated one or two really bad experiences with cyclists—and my frustration and fear—and suddenly resented all cyclists because I’d never paused to qualify why I was upset with them.
This ad, by NAPCAN, Australian organization for preventing child abuse and neglect, reminds us how much our kids are watching every thing we do, from big to little. From littering to road rage to domestic violence, this public service commercial will hopefully help all parents see that we are always teaching our kids what it means to be a grown-up—even when we don’t realize it.