Handling Negative Influences: Talk to The Hand & Other Tips
For Moms, being in an uncomfortable position doesn’t always stop at childbirth. Many Moms who thought childbirth was tough feel even more pressure when it comes to dealing with negative influences. Many of us have our script ready for our kids when it comes to handling school bullies, negative media influences and even negative influences online.
But what happens when those negative influences are not isolated to the outside world? Difficult relatives do happen to good Moms. Negative influences and toxic relationships will have an effect on your children. My daughter is in a stage where she enjoys copying everything that you do and saying everything that you say. So that relative that loves to drop the “f”, “d” and “s” bomb? Let’s just say they won’t be getting invited to the next picnic. Children learn about healthy and unhealthy emotional relationships by what they observe.
Some relatives from in-laws to siblings or even your own parents are so closely entwined into the family that you simply can’t avoid them. Developing coping skills in managing difficult people should be left to adults. Young children are still developing these critical skills and aren’t yet capable of rationalizing behavior or overlooking inappropriate conduct. Therefore parents must step in to shield children from negative influences.
You’ll get your chance to use those coping skills when you have “the talk” with the “attitude” otherwise known as that relative who always seems to have something negative to say. The talk can actually be beneficial for not only your child but will help your own relationship with that person.
Children, especially babies, often inspire the best in people. Even negative people will feel that they want to be a good influence and may be unaware that their actions are actually harmful. Start by sharing things that you both love about your child.
Let your family member know that you want your child to continue developing in a happy and healthy way. Even your negative family member has some good traits. Point out some of the good things that they say or do and encourage that behavior more.
Let your family member know what the behavior is that you would like them to stop. Generally speaking, when people feel that you are not shutting them out they tend to be less defensive.
Just like talking to your children about the birds and the bees isn’t a one-time thing, this conversation usually isn’t either. Continue to reinforce the good behavior you wish to see around your child. If this doesn’t work there are ways that you can limit your exposure to the family member without severing the ties.
Use social media and networks like facebook and twitter to chat, share pictures of your children and to stay in contact without being in contact. The family member will still feel connected to your child through your updates and it will reduce your chances of them having to talk to the hand if they don’t quit it.