Setting Good Examples

Julie - Wayland, Michigan
Entered on May 26, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Why is it okay for a child to write down false information and believe nothing is wrong with doing that? Why do students sign their own permission slips in place of their parents and not think twice? I believe that some parents and/or other adult role models do not realize the affect their negative actions have on children. Growing up I had not thought much about how adult role models really influenced children until recently.

Although some parents may look at situations like these as just a part of growing up, adult role models may have influenced many of these situations, often unknowingly. I came to believe this when I became a teacher and was handed permission slips with names of parents signed obviously by the child.

From college and my own experiences I have heard and seen many interesting and innocent things children say or do. For instance, some children truly do not think they have done anything wrong when they sign their parent’s or guardian’s name on a permission slip because they know their parent or guardian will allow them to attend a field trip. In a child’s eyes this behavior is acceptable because they have seen a parent sign for a piece of mail saying that they were someone else to save time for the person who would otherwise need to travel to the post office.

Although I do not think that most parents purposefully try to confuse their child, they just do not realize that something that is pretty minor can be misleading. Take speeding for example, although many people know they should not speed, they still do it and try to avoid getting caught. Some children may look at a situation and think that its okay to do something they know is wrong as long as they do not get caught.

Curious eyes are all over and although I am not a psychologist or a counselor and cannot look into a child’s thoughts, I have heard stories from children who have misinterpreted actions they have seen from adults. Once I get to know a child, I can typically tell when they are telling the truth through their facial expressions and how they look at me when they are talking, so I know that stories like this do exist. I have had to explain to students how they misunderstood the actions they have seen from adults. All adult role models, including myself, need to be especially careful with their actions because they could easily be misinterpreted; children sometimes misinterpret positive actions as well. However, especially when doing something a child should not do, adults should be extra careful.