Tag Archive for role model

Who Am I Parenting Anyway?

Becoming a parent taught me a lot. It revealed areas of immaturity and prompted (dare I say compelled) me to grow up. Areas in which I didn’t practice what I preached made themselves known. I had to learn to “walk the talk” and live a life that modeled what I wanted my children to learn. Let me share a few examples you might relate to (at least, I hope I’m not the only one!). These examples come by way of statements parents say to their children, statements we need to practice ourselves.

  • “Don’t yell at me.” Have you ever said that to your child? If you have, there’s a good chance you said it in anger, with a raised voice. I remember my children arguing with one another, yelling at one another. In frustration I yelled, “We don’t yell in this house!” Yes, I’m embarrassed to say I yelled at them to stop yelling. I yelled, “We don’t yell in this house.”  Fortunately, I heard myself and decided to make a change, to grow up. I decided to learn to express my frustrations in a more mature manner, not like an impetuous child yelling.
  • “Be patient;” or “You need to be more patient.”  It’s true. Children need to learn patience. It doesn’t seem to be a skill we’re born with. But I fear many of us don’t outgrow our childhood impatience. When we sit in traffic and impatiently growl about the driver in front of us, are we modeling adult patience for our children?  When we impatiently accuse our children of taking too long to get ready or of eating too slowly at a restaurant, is it them or us who need to develop a more mature level of patience? I know I need to grow in patience so that my children will have a patient parent to emulate. Perhaps I need to heed my parental statement, “Be patient.”
  • “You can’t always get your way” and “The world doesn’t revolve around you!” Ouch, that hurts.  Children will learn this best when we model it, when we do not pout because our spouse asked us to help clean the kitchen (consider how you show The Full Extent of Love to your family)… or moan and complain as we watch a show our spouse likes… or grumble about go to a restaurant our spouse chooses. Time to grow up and model for our children how to graciously accept that the world doesn’t revolve around us either.
  • “Don’t you get angry with me.” That’s easy to say…but do your children ever see you get angry with your parent (their grandparent) or your spouse (their other parent)? In fact, there’s nothing wrong with your children getting angry with you. After all, effective parents place healthy limits and demands on their children and their children don’t always like them. In addition, we have all misunderstood our children at times. I know I get upset, even angry, when I feel misunderstood. What we really mean to say is, “It hurts me (and maybe even makes me angry) when you get angry with me.” So, rather than make a childish demand like, “Don’t be mean to me by being angry with me,” take the role of an adult who is not overwhelmed by a child’s anger. Respond with healthy empathy and love. Let them see that no matter how mad they get with you, you still love them enough to listen AND maintain healthy limits and expectations.

Sometimes in the midst of listening to myself parent I have to wonder, “Who am I really parenting?” Who am I encouraging to grow more mature? Sure, I want my child to grow more mature. But sometimes I think I’m talking to myself and encouraging myself to mature, to become a better parent, to become the kind of person I want my children to emulate.

Take Time to Reflect

In her book Hunt, Gather, Parent, Michaeleen Doucleff, PHD, describes “three steps [a parent can use] to transmit any value they want to a child.” These three steps include modeling, acknowledging, and practicing. And it’s true. Parents use these three powerful actions to transmit values to their children whether they know it or not, even whether they intend to or not. If we don’t reflect on what we model, acknowledge, and practice, we may pass on values that we never wanted our children to learn. As an example, consider children and teen technology use.

Practice: Many parents give their children lots of practice in the unhealthy use of technology. For instance, we hand our toddlers our cell phone or iPad to keep them calm, busy, and out of our hair. We may also give children and teens technology to counter their boredom during a long drive. In other words, we encourage them to use technology to deal with frustrations or boredom and, in the process, discourage them from learning other methods of dealing with frustrations and boredom (like reading, playing a game, or conversing with other people). In fact, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry notes that we let 8-12-year-old children practice using technology 4-6 hours a day. Teens practice using technology up to 9 hours a day. Imagine if they practiced math, a sport, or an instrument that many hours a day.

Acknowledge: We acknowledge our children’s behavior by attending to it. Negative attention and positive attention both reinforce behavior.  The more energetic our attention (positive or negative), the greater the reinforcement. When we yell at our child to “get off the phone” we are providing energetic attention to a behavior we don’t like. When we constantly complaining about them playing video games, we are giving attention to a behavior we find frustrating. In both cases, our acknowledgment simply reinforces their continued technology usage. Sure, they may turn it off in the moment, but they will return to it the first chance they get. After all, our energetic acknowledgment has helped to build and reinforce their self-concept as someone who “always uses technology…” just like we told them. Instead of acknowledging their use of technology in energetic, frustrated tones, invest your energy in engaging them in more valued activities. Energetically acknowledge their involvement with friends, their progress in academics, their kindness to others, their active participation in sports, or other activities you want your children to learn to value. I’m sure your child has a much broader life than one of simple technology use. Acknowledge those other areas. Acknowledge when they use technology in appropriate ways and at appropriate times as well. This can help them learn the appropriate use of technology in their lives.

Model: Too often we—the parents—model the kind of technology usage we hate in our children. It’s true. Consider these statistics. Over 70% of married couples report cell phones frequently interfere with their relationships. In one study, 40 of the 55 parents observed with children in a fast-food restaurant used their cell phone. The more they used their cell phone the more their children either withdrew from them or engaged in limit testing behaviors to gain their attention. When we allow our technology use to interfere with our interactions with our children, we model a level of technology use we want our children to avoid. Unfortunately, our children learn to do what we model. They do as we do much more often than they do as we say.

Practicing, acknowledging, and modeling are powerful ways in which we teach our children and teens about behaviors we value. Unfortunately, if we don’t practice, acknowledge, and model thoughtfully, we may pass on values we don’t agree with and never wanted our children to learn. Take time to reflect. It may prove one of the most effective parenting tools we have. 

Be the Inspiration Your Family Needs

We all want to inspire our families to live a better life, don’t we? I know I do. I want my life to inspire my spouse and my children to live a more fulfilled life, a life filled with joy and the pursuit of dreams. Now, a review of 88 studies involving 25,000 participants reveals one great way we can inspire our family to act in kindness and generosity. Surprisingly, it’s really pretty simple too. What is it? Let your family see you engaging in acts of kindness and generosity. Let them witness you comforting someone, leaving an extra tip, acting cooperatively, getting another family member a drink, or some other act of kindness. It’s as simple as that. Let them see you being kind.

This review of studies revealed kindness is contagious. So, when your family witnesses your act of kindness, they will be inspired to act in kindness as well. Here are a couple of caveats to keep in mind though:

  • If you want your family to witness your kindness, you have to engage in acts of kindness and generosity. I know that seems obvious, but I still wanted to say it. To inspire kindness in your family, you need act in kindness around them.
  • Ironically, your act of kindness will inspire your family to act kindly whether your family witnesses the kind action in person or they hear you talk about it. So, create times in which your family can share stories about acts of kindness that they engaged in or saw others engage in. If you’re not sure when to have this kind of conversation, consider doing it over a family dinner. This would make a wonderful family discussion over any family dinner.
  • Another rather obvious caveat but…. You have to spend time with your family in order for them to witness your acts of Kindness or to hear the stories of your kindness. Spend time with family every day.
  • Finally, don’t expect your family to show kindness in the same way you do. The review of 88 studies cited above reveals that people do not simply mimic the kindness they witness. Instead, they “take on the prosocial goal and generalize it” to engage in acts of kindness that may differ from what they witnessed. So don’t expect your family to imitate your kindness. Instead, celebrate their unique expressions of kindness.

You can inspire your family to kindness simply by engaging in acts of kindness yourself. In the process, kindness just might become one of the defining characteristics of your family. I can live with that, can’t you? And that identity of being a “kind family” might just spill out into your community, inspiring your community to become a community of kindness… and wouldn’t that be wonderful?

What Do You Really Want for Your Children?

I hate to say it, but parents have a huge responsibility. A tremendous burden rests on our shoulders. The future of our world depends on the priorities and values we instill in our children. I mean, it’s true but I didn’t think about that kind of responsibility when my wife and I decided to have children. But we quickly came to realize the need to take that responsibility seriously. We had to ask ourselves what values we really want to instill in our children. We needed to assess what we really want our children to learn. We had to nurture and teach our children to enable them to “see the big picture.”  Here are some of the questions we ask of ourselves. What are your answers?

  • Do we want our children to learn that the most important aspect of life is to win at any cost or do we want them to play the game while encouraging and supporting even the competition?
  • Do we want our children to learn to “get over on the system” or to live with integrity and honesty while working to change the system?
  • Do we want our children to pursue their own interests to the neglect of others or to pursue their interests while remaining aware, respectful, and encouraging of other peoples’ interests as well?
  • Do we want our children to fight for “my rights” or to have a more expansive view that also considers the rights of others and balancing the rights of all through service and sacrifice?
  • Do we want our children to get rich or to share with those who have genuine need?
  • Do we want our children to work to the neglect of relationship or to work to gain the resources they can use to build relationships?
  • Do we want our children to worry about the future at the expense of enjoying the moment or to prepare for the future while enjoying the moment? In fact, to even believe that how we enjoy the moment shapes our future!
  • Do we want our children to learn that “my” job or interests is most important and prestigious or to learn that everyone’s jobs and interests carry importance, prestige, and an amazing set of knowledge not everyone shares?
  • Do we want our children to learn that “my” opinion is best or to develop a genuine interest and respect in other people’s ideas and opinions, even if you disagree?

You cannot NOT teach your children these values. In your everyday words and actions, you teach your children these values.  They learn them from what you say and what you do, how you treat them and how you treat one another. Consider the values you want them to learn. Then start living them out in your daily life today!

My Children are Copy Cats…Now What?

My father worked as a chaplain in a nursing home. I often volunteered there on Sundays. One Sunday, while walking down the hall, a patient said, “You walk just like your father.”

My daughter came home from college to tell a story about combing her hair (don’t worry, there’s a point). As she adjusted her bangs, she realized (much to her dismay) that she was adjusting her bangs “exactly like my dad does!”

The point is: children imitate their parents. They don’t even try. They just do it. From the mundane to the exceptional, the subtle to the obvious, children imitate their parents. What parent hasn’t experienced their four-year-old saying something at the most inopportune moment that highlights their keen observation skills and unparalleled ability to imitate our behaviors? We often tell funny and embarrassing stories about such moments; but, why not use this phenomenon to our advantage? If our children are going to be copy cats, why not give them something good to copy?  For instance, I would love it if the copy cats in my house would copy these behaviors.

  1. Thanking the person who prepared the food and complimenting them about something they prepared.
  2. Saying a prayer before each meal and at bedtime.
  3. Turning off the TV, video game, or social media and giving your full attention to your spouse, child, or parent when they talk to us.
  4. Offering sincere compliments to your spouse, children, and parents.
  5. Laughing often.
  6. Practicing polite acts of kindness such as holding the door open for other people.
  7. Offering to get another person a snack or drink.
  8. Rinsing your dish and putting it in the dishwasher. Unloading the dishwasher without complaining.
  9. Doing every household chore with a smile and a sense of gratitude.
  10. Treating cashiers, clerks, wait staff, and others with polite respect.
  11. Calmly discussing what upsets you rather than “flying off the handle” or “freaking out.”
  12. Trying something new like a new food or a new activity.
  13. Really listening.
  14. Stopping to smell the roses, watching the sunset, listening to the music, or some other activity in which you appreciate beauty. Sharing it with your family.

That’s 14 behaviors the little copy cats can copy all they want! But, that does mean we have to practice them. What other behaviors do you want your little copy cats to copy?

Driving Children or Leading Children

I read that General Eisenhower would demonstrate the art of leadership with a piece of string. After laying the string on a table, he would say, “Notice what happens when I pull the string; it goes wherever I lead it. Now watch what happens when I push the string; it goes nowhere at all—that’s assault, not leadership.” What a great quote on leadership…and parenting! Many parents drive their children rather than lead their children. Consider just three differences.

 

military policeProdding them or inspiring them. Parents who drive their children push them, cajole them, and prod them to produce, accomplish, and succeed. They often express dissatisfaction with a less than stellar performance. Parents who lead do so by example. Leading implies going ahead of them to show the way. A parent’s leadership will inspire children to follow in their parent’s footsteps. If you want your children to eat a healthy diet and exercise, do so yourself. If you want your children to exhibit respect, be polite yourself. Say “please” and “thank you” to them and others. Let them hear you say polite words often. If you want your children to go to church, enjoy going yourself. You get the idea. When parents drive their children, they push them into the unknown alone. A parent who leads goes before their child into that unknown. A parent who guides goes with their child into that unknown. Both leading and guiding create a sense of safety for children. Our children learn from our example, not our constant prodding and pushing. So, quit prodding and inspire them instead…take the lead.

 

Laying down the law or studying the book. Parents who drive their children focus on the rules. They lay down the law and demand compliance. Rules keep us on the straight and narrow, away from the evil influences around us. But, an overabundance of rules and a focus on the rules will send a message of distrust in your children, their knowledge of right behavior, their desire to behave appropriately, and their ability to do so. A focus on rules may also force children to break the rules just to establish their own independence. Parents who lead focus on relationship. Sure they have rules but they focus on a relationship with their children. They have become a student of their children. They constantly learn about their children’s interests, friends, fears, vulnerabilities, dreams, etc. Parents who lead have an unquenchable thirst to know their children. Out of that knowledge, a parent can lead, motivate, and inspire their children to be their best.

 

Running away or running to. Parents who drive their children establish a strong authoritarian presence. Their children often respond to the authoritarian demands and expectations in one of two ways: rebellion or withdrawal. When children have parents who drive them, they shrink away from their parents’ voice. Demands and rules cause children to shrink away in fear.  Authoritarian expectations cause children to shrink into a shell, withdrawing for fear of failure and never being good enough to meet their parents’ expectations and so please them.  Children may also rebel in the face of the excessive demands and expectations of authoritarian parents. In order to “become their own person,” they have to rebel. Parents who lead establish a strong authority based on relationship. Their children rise up to their parents’ voice. They respond with confidence to the family expectation. They feel known and valued so they act more responsibly and respectfully.

 

We could go on, but let me ask you: do you drive your children or lead them? Do you push them into the unknown or lead them by example? Do you focus primarily on “laying down the law” or on “building a relationship” of mutual trust and respect…or both? Does your voice and presence cause your children to shrink or grow? Pull the string, don’t push it. Take the lead!

Get Your Child’s Head in the Game with MEATT

Parents like to see their children perform well. Who am I kidding? I like to see my children perform well. In fact, if you are like me, you may get more nervous than your children do when they get out on the field for the big game or up on stage for the first act. We want pianothem to experience success. That success, however, begins long before they walk onto the field or stage. It begins even before practice starts. Our children’s performance success begins with their mindset…and their mindset begins with us! How we encourage and praise our children helps develop a mindset that promotes success or a mindset that promotes fear and anxiety. Praise that focuses on innate, natural talent promotes a fear of failure. If our praise voices a belief that genetics or natural talent made our child the excellent performer, we have raised the ante on performance anxiety. I know it sounds paradoxical; but, if I think my talent is inherited, “just who I am,” or a natural ability, I may believe that failure simply shows the limit of my ability. Rather than face that limit, I might underperform. I might stick with what I know I can already do and not risk reaching the limit of my ability and the start of my failure. Praise that focuses on natural talent creates anxiety and teaches our children to underperform. When they experience failure (which we all will) or finds themselves struggling (which we all do), they may believe they have reached the limit of their ability and quit…since other kids seem to have more ability now. Broad, generic statements like “You are really smart (or talented or good)” will have a similar result.

 

On the other hand, when we send a clear message that we value effort more than achievement, we promote success. Studies suggest successful people, even elite performers, have at least four things in common:

  1. They practice hard and they practice deliberately.
  2. They practice consistently.
  3. They practice consistently over the long-term in spite of any experience of failure or temporary setback. In fact, they come to see failure as a key factor in their growth.
  4. They believe that persistent effort will bring success.

 

Notice what each of these factors have in common: practice, effort, and hard-work! When we teach our children to believe that hard-work and effort (not simply natural talent) reveals the true extent of their ability, we have helped them get their head in the game. When we let our children know we value effort more than achievement, and practice more than perfection, we help them get their head in the game. So, here are five ways we can send the message (he real “M.E.A.T.T.” of teaching our children the importance of effort) that effort is more important than the final product.

  • Model working hard toward a goal and enjoying your work toward a goal. Children learn a lot by watching us!
  • Encourage your children to persist in reaching their goals. John Hayes, a cognitive psychologist, found great composers, athletes, and artists had a “decade of silence” in their field before reaching success. This “decade of silence” was filled with practice…practice…and more practice. Effort!
  • Acknowledge the effort your children exert in reaching a goal. Rather than simply praising the finished product or performance, let them know you recognize their effort and enjoy watching that effort pay off. “You put a lot of effort into learning that and it really paid off today.” “I can tell you worked hard on that picture/song/pitch. It’s very cool.”
  • Teach your children how to practice deliberately. This might include breaking the final goal into multiple steps, breaking a task into component parts and practicing each part individually. This also includes slowing down, practicing specific skills, and getting feedback.
  • Teach your children to have fun! Add variety to their practice to avoid boredom. Let part of the practice involve aspects your children really enjoy. Work hard and have fun!

 

Give your children the MEATT of effort and you will find their persistence improves and, as a result, their performance will improve. They will have their head in the game.

But I Really Neeeeed Them!

I remember standing in a checkout line behind a mother and her preschool age son. As they waited their turn, her son examined the candy shelves. His eyes lit up when he saw gummy bears. He turned to his mother to ask if she would buy them for him. She shook her head “no” but he persisted. She calmly looked at him and said, “Not today honey. We are not going to get any gummy bears today.” As disappointment filled his eyes, he pleaded in a voice that would make any salesman proud, “But Mom, I neeeeeed them!” I believed him. That young man had a dire need for gummy bears. The fact is, our children do have dire needs, albeit not for gummy bears (although I can understand that need myself). What are a child’s greatest needs?
     ·         Children need unconditional love from their parent. Children need their parents to invest the time necessary to build and maintain a deep relationship with them. This unconditional love and connection provides a sense of security for children. And, security allows them to explore, learn, and grow more competent. Our children need our unconditional love.

·         Children need to be heard. In fact, listening attentively to children is more important than anything we can actually say. Listening lets a child know that we value them. Listening also allows a parent to know their children: how they think, what they like, what they fear.  Ultimately, listening allows a parent to learn who their children are. Our children need us to listen attentively to them.

·         Children need a positive example to follow. The first and most powerful example children will follow is the example of their parents. Children learn more from observing their parents’ daily actions than they ever learn from our words of wisdom and experience. They will do as we do before they do as we say. Determine what kind of person you want your child to become and then become that person yourself. Clear the path for your child by setting the example yourself.

·         Children need to know we believe in them. One way they know we believe in them is when we stop hovering and trust them to accomplish the challenges set before them. They also learn that we believe in them when we entrust real responsibility to them, whether that be chores around the house, a part-time job, spending their own birthday money, or helping us with a household job. Let your children know you believe in and trust their ability.

·         Children need us to get out of their way so they can learn from their own experience. I don’t mean that parents should let their children stray into dangerous situations. However, sometimes we need to get out of the way. Let them experience the consequences of their mistakes and the joys of their success. Let them struggle through the difficulties of a challenging task or assignment. Let them learn what they can control and in what areas they need assistance. Children need us to stop hovering so they have the freedom to learn and grow on their own.
 
Children easily express their need for gummy bears, but they may have difficulty expressing the five needs discussed above. Nonetheless, they will find a way to have these needs met. They may assert their independence to make us “get out of the way” or nag us to be heard. You may even find them acting out behaviors and words they have seen in you that you find embarrassing. But, one way or another, they will express these needs and push to have them met. Why not take this year to meet these five needs in a positive way? Make it your goal for the coming year to provide for these needs in your children. They “really neeeed them!”

Parents: Sowing & Reaping

“You reap what you sow.” I was thinking about this ancient saying the other day. We often tell our children to be careful what they sow because it will come back around to them in the reaping. In other words, there are natural consequences to our actions—a good lesson for our children to learn. But, parents can learn from this saying as well, especially in regards to how we treat our children. Think about it, we “reap what we sow.” Our children pick up everything we do and say. Worse yet, they repeat everything we say and do…good or bad. I have noticed that children not only repeat what their parents say or do, but they do so with little to no restraint. For instance, an adult may limit their swearing to times when they are very angry. But their preschooler hears that curse word and repeats it indiscriminately, without restraint, at the worst times, in the most inopportune moment. On the positive side, imagine a child watching you engage in acts of kindness or generosity and then practicing those virtues with abandon. Or picture your child overhearing you energetically speaking highly of others and doing the same. “You reap what you sow.”
 
I read a Jewish folktale in which a father kicks the grandfather out of their home. The grandfather roams the streets as a homeless beggar. One cold night, he sees his grandson playing in the yard. He explains who he is and asks for a blanket. The grandson runs into the house and asks his father for a blanket to give the old man. His father sends him to the attic to get one. When the grandson does not quickly return, his father goes in search of him and finds him cutting a blanket in half. “Why are you doing?” his father asks. “I am cutting the blanket in half, Father, so that I can give half to my grandfather. I am going to keep the other half for you. When you grow old and go out to beg in the cold, I’ll give you this part of the blanket to keep you warm,” the son replied. The father was stunned…but he realized that he was reaping what he had sown. It’s a “cat’s in the cradle” sort of thing.
 
The moral of the story: parents reap what they sow.  How do you want your children to “turn out”? How do you want them to behave? What character do you want them to develop? Begin to model that character today because your children are watching, learning, copying, and practicing…and we will “reap what we sow.”

Teaching Your Child Perspective Taking

Children are not born with the ability to see the world through another person’s eyes. They have to learn to take another person’s perspective. If they do not learn this, they grow intolerant, self-centered, and uncaring. How can a parent help their children develop the ability to see various situations from another person’s perspective? Here are 4 suggestions:
  • Model perspective taking in your life. Begin by modeling perspective taking in your relationship with your child. Take the time to see things from your child’s perspective. Allow your child to explain his point of view and then accept that point of view. His point of view may sound magical or immature–after all, he is a child. You may even disagree with his perspective, but accept it before you discuss it. As your child matures, use everyday situations to point out other people’s perspectives. For instance, discuss how friends might perceive something your child said or did, how teachers might perceive various students’ behavior, or how siblings might view an event differently than he does. Let your child explore and express various ideas without judgment, especially in his teen years. Definitely add your ideas into the mix and express your perspective, but do so without judging the ideas and values that he expresses. 
  • Explore the perspective of fictional characters. Start reading stories with your children when they are young. As they mature, discuss stories that you both read. In particular, discuss the characters in the story and their perspective of the situations they encounter. Explore how the story characters might feel, what circumstances and thoughts contribute to those feelings, and what resources the characters might use to deal with those feelings. Help your child develop an understanding of how that character’s perspective contributes to their actions and emotions. You can do this with movie characters as well. Engaging in these talks allows your child to begin to explore the perspective of another person, even if it is a fictional story character. 
  • Have some fun with perspective taking. I often play a game of “Happy, Mad, & Sad” with children at work. It is like “Paper, Scissors, & Rock;” but, instead of using hand signals, we make a happy face, a mad face, or a sad face. I score by saying happy beats sad, sad beats mad, and mad beats happy. It does not really matter which emotion beats the others, only that you get to practice seeing the expression on one another’s face—an important skill for perspective taking. You can also enjoy some people watching in a mall or park. Observe people walking by and quietly make up little stories about the character’s life and emotions. Fill the story with supporting observations. For instance, “those two just met in the ice cream shop because they still have their cones. They are walking in step with one another and smiling when they look at one another, so they have fallen deeply in love”…or “they walk in step with one another because they are both marching band members and can no longer walk out of sync…” Play a game while driving in which you name as many reasons as possible for why a car sped by or why another driver cut you off in traffic. Make note that each reason is merely a guess and an assumption, but represents a possible perspective of the other person. And, the perspective we focus on can lead to our becoming angry (“that jerk did that on purpose”), compassionate (“I hope they are not running to an emergency”), or cautious (“did they just fall asleep and drift into my lane?”). Remember, there is often more than one possible reason for a person’s behavior, more than one possible perspective. Encourage your child to consider those perspectives, even if they do not agree with them.
  • Finally, as your child experiences various circumstances in life, talk to him about the perspective of others in that situation as well. When you witness a commotion in a restaurant, help them observe not just the commotion but how those around the commotion respond. After watching a close football game, observe the winning team’s demeanor and the losing team’s demeanor. Watch the interviews with both teams and talk about each person’s response. When your child has a fight with a sibling, help him observe the impact on his siblings and you.
That is just 4 ideas to help teach your child perspective taking. You can practice each idea in your daily life, without even looking like you are teaching anything! By helping your child grow in their ability to take another person’s perspective, they will grow more understanding, accepting, and considerate. They will show more empathy and compassion toward those around them. They will mature, growing into adults with a strong character!
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