Parents out there know how hard it is to teach your kids to do as you say, but not as you do. Our experience allows us the opportunity to know better and apply our knowledge to each situation appropriately.
For instance, we may teach them not to judge others, not to care what anyone else thinks of them, or even something so simple as not to lie. But then you have to deal with them asking you why you don’t like their friends, why they absolutely have to iron their shirt before they leave, or why you told the waitress that your 14 year old kid is 12 so you can get that free meal.
Kids hear your “rule” but they do not understand it fully unless you explain. If you tell your kids that they should never judge people, they will think this is what you want them to do across the board. Instead of just telling the rule, you should also give them examples.
Tell them not to judge by status (just because Casey’s mom is a bus driver and she qualifies for free lunch at school does not make her less than), looks (just because Casey doesn’t have the latest clothes doesn’t make her less than); or disability (just because Casey is in the lowest reading class because she was held back in 4th grade doesn’t make her less than).
I personally took it a step further and explained to my daughter that it most definitely IS okay to judge people on character. If Casey is a straight up untrustworthy bitch who talks behind your back, then she’s not worthy of your time. It’s as simple as that. That way, when I tell her I don’t like such and such, I can tell her it’s because when he comes over, he doesn’t look me in the eye and he doesn’t speak to me with respect, and she will understand.
Explain yourself when you are caught
Never actually say “do as I say, not as I do”, and leave it at that. When questioned, tell your kid the real reason why you don’t want him to hang out with that boy. Don’t just say it’s because you don’t like him. Tell him why – he doesn’t seem genuine, he’s shady, you don’t like the way he doesn’t look you in the eye, etc.
If you explain to your kid, he may think about a time where he felt the same way about the other, and realize that it’s okay to not deal with those types of people. We are not judging him because he doesn’t have a good home life, but because of what the bad home life has made him become. He may be mad at first, but usually our instincts as parents are spot on. Either way, eventually that other kid will do something to make your kid realize you were right.
Talk to your kids
I’ve noticed that a lot of parents do not talk to their kids; they only tell them what to do and never really get into their heads. Talking to them opens up dialogue where you can apply your experience and give advice on real life situations. You can tell your daughter that if that friend doesn’t have her back when times get rough, then they really are not her friend. You can tell your son that the reason why his friend Dennis allowed him to get in trouble for something is simply because Dennis does not know how to be accountable.
If you can’t count on someone to have your back, then they do not need to have “friend” status. You can still have that person as an acquaintance, but the term “real friend” doesn’t apply.
We as adults know that there is a thin line that can be crossed when it comes to judging others, but to the kids, all they see is a hypocrite if unexplained. If you simply tell them don’t judge others, but then judge their friends every time a new one shows up at your door, the only message they get is that their parents are trying to ruin their lives. However, if done properly, there are a few ways to help ensure that your kid does do what you say without expecting you to do the same.
They may not care at the time, and may even be a little pissed, but you can just tell him that he will thank you later in life. He can still be mad about it, but at least he doesn’t see you as a hypocrite.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.