Friday, July 15, 2016

Tentative Parenting : Monkey See, Monkey Do

K2 : Ma, how come we have no hair products at home
Working Mom : Huh! We have shampoo and coconut oil - what are you talking about?
K2  (rolls his eyes) : Ma - I mean hair products like hair gel
Working Mom (Stretching the truth) : K2, you know all that is bad for your hair right?
K2 : Ma - But R, C and T use it - so I think it's alright - can you please get me some?
Working Mom : No can do baby! Not quite yet. Let's give it a couple more years and then if you still feel like putting artificial goop in your hair, its your choice. How about we talk about this again when you are 13?

In the urban dictionary "Monkey See, Monkey Do" is  - an expression describing someone who imitates another person's actions, good or bad,simply by having watched them before.
Given the sociologist in me I researched this some more and here are some loose guidelines I have set for myself in my parenting quest :
  1. Be intentional about your child's surroundings but be open to the fact that he will be exposed to both positive and negative role-models. For eg. K2 has this friend who only eats whites (white rice, white yogurt, white pasta with alfredo saunce, pretty much no veggies and fruits) and K2 takes a lot of pleasure in throwing up the friend's example when he is given 2 servings of fruits and veggies for both lunch and dinner - I just smile and ask him what the Doctor told him in his last check-up - Eat 6-7 servings of veggies and fruits  ( the argument ends there!)
  2. Notice the positive - K2 was reluctant about brushing twice (don't ask-I won't tell) till his friend had a rather painful cavity extraction and was very explicit about detailing the painful experience - I have noticed regular brushing and flossing as an offshoot #FTW
  3. Talk about it - Like we did about the hair products - it's not about giving in or it's not about being controlling - it's about letting them know Why Not and when they can use it if they still want to --- We have had a similar discussion around soda, getting him a phone etc. etc...the list doesn't end (can't say the same about the patience level!)
  4. Do as you say - I limited  the conversation around my son's use of hair gel but it was an easier talk for me to have with him because he sees that at home Mom and Dad don't really use a lot of these products - the soda conversation was an easy one because we have no soda lying around in the house.

It's so easy for the young ones and the not-so young ones to get caught up in this behavior - whether it's hair styles, dresses, make-up, shoes, designer bags, accents, behavioral aspects...we tend to look up to and ape role models. I constantly  remind K2 and myself of something my father told me while I was growing up " it takes nothing to join the crowd, it takes grit and courage to stand alone - you don't have to fit in unless you want to ...always remember that

 Happy Friday! So are you living in a world of "Monkey See, Monkey Do or are you being an Original Monkey" :-)