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Parents are role models

Carol Martindale

Parents are role models

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PARENTS have an awesome responsibility.
Theirs is one that cannot and should not be taken lightly.
Parents are there to guide, mould and help chart the lives of their young charges.
We call on them for advice when we falter or when we are unsure of our next move. So critical is their advice that often they are the first ones we turn to for direction.
We expect our parents not only to always be there for us, but to have our best interest at heart and therefore help us arrive at the best answer.
Many times they don’t directly give us the answer or the answer we want to hear, but certainly they give us enough advice to help us make the best possible decision.
It is with this in mind that parents need to be more circumspect in what they do. They have to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk.
Why? Because their children are watching on and following the example they set.
Parents must lead from the front and set the right examples they want their children to follow.
The role of parents has come to the fore in the wake of this week’s Secrets’ Corner question.
The scenario is: Your 13-year-old daughter was caught at school having intercourse in the washroom with a fellow student, who is 17 years old. When you confront her at the school on her behaviour she tells you in front of the teacher that she was only doing what she saw you doing with your boyfriend. As a mother, how do you deal with that?
How should you proceed?
Simply put, this is nothing short of scandalous.
Why would a 13-year-old girl be having sex – and in the washroom at school? What is worse, though, is that this young teen had the gumption to say after being confronted that she was copying the behaviour she had witnessed between her mother and her boyfriend.
This mother certainly needs to watch how she behaves in front of her children. She has to set the right example for her children so they in turn would know right from wrong.
It must have been thoroughly embarrassing for this mother as her child made the comments in front of the teacher.
This mother needs to examine herself and her behaviour. She needs to sit and speak sternly to her daughter and let her know this is not acceptable behaviour.
Having the “talk” with her daughter about sex is also critical at this juncture.
This is what other readers said: What I did with my boyfriend is certainly none of her business.
Did she see me go out to work every day too? How come she is not working? I would thump her.
 Children live what they see. They cannot filter like us and determine appropriateness. The mother needed to set an example and be more discreet. Both of them need to be counselled about the inappropriateness of their behaviours. The child is not off the hook but the mother should explain to the child that she was wrong for exposing her to the intimacy between her and her boyfriend.
New expectations should be set and adhered to by both parties.
 How is it ‘obvious’ that she couldn’t do it at home? If she believes that it was okay to do it because she saw me doing it, how come she knows that it can’t be done at home?
 I am asking why she is picking and choosing what behaviour to emulate. I am cooking, but she is not seeing me do that and doing it; I am working and she is not seeing that and doing it, but she picked the sexual intercourse? Why? And if she thinks that because I do it, it is okay, why is she in a school bathroom and not at home? I doubt she saw me having sex in a bathroom.
 The thumping may or may not de-escalate the behaviours, but I believe continued positive behaviours on the part of the adults and influencing the child’s pattern of thinking is a more long-term solution.