Saying "No" To Hypocrisy!

In the spirit of "change", I've also become obsessed with how much I will have to change. Well.. how much I should change before a child materialises.

Did your mother (or parent) ever say to you... "because I said so"? Or "do as I say and not as I do"? What did you learn from it? Did you learn not to do it again because of the consequence of not doing as you were told, or because you understood why you should/shouldn't do something? I know this is dependent on the child’s age and their ability to understand reason but what I learnt initially was that my mother thought I was too stupid to understand and later that she was simply too lazy to bother helping me to.
In some circumstances, in the heat of the moment it is going to come down to a matter of trust. Just before she legs it across the road without looking, for example. You're not going to have time to explain why they should hold your hand. But that trust has to be earned. By never receiving an explanation, I took that kind of instruction with a pinch of salt. I didn't believe it was for my own good and had I not wanted to "behave" for other reasons, I may well have run across the road, or gone off with a stranger or worse.
On top of that, if you're told to do something "because" and then observe your parents doing the opposite, how can you build on or keep that trust?

I am reading an amazing book at the moment by Daniel Hughes called "Building the Bonds of Attachment". It is helping me to understand much more than other material read so far, just what damage can be done through neglect and abuse at an early age. How that damage can affect development and growth and building "attachments" with adoptive parents. Something I have just read in the book, was reinforced recently by conversations with a brilliant woman who adopted a 6 yr about 4 years ago - One of the things that can continue to affect a child once adopted is uncertainty. They may have been cuddled or discarded completely randomly. Fed and bathed, or left to fend for themselves in their cots, rooms, of hours on ends. Never knowing when their hunger pains will be relieved or their nappies changed. And as this continues, their sole focus moves from exploring the world around them and enjoying the love they may receive to self-defence and trying to ensure they get only what they need.
In order to put right some of the wrong that has been done, it is going to be important to try and make them feel - not just feel but KNOW - that they are safe and that their needs will be met no matter what, so that they can start to grow and live again. One of the ways I can help her to feel that is to try and remove any room for doubt or level of uncertainty during the day to day as much as possible. To provide structure and routine and an explanation for those things that we’re doing. Building trust between us so that when I do need to tell her to do something in the heat of the moment, she knows it’s because I love her and want to keep her safe.

So I can’t be a hypocrite. I can’t tell her to do something “because” and then not do it myself. The concept of being able to choose not to do something because I’m an adult will be lost on her. If I tell her she has to brush her teeth twice a day.. I TOO should do it. And less of the looks of horror, I know lots of people that do not always brush their teeth twice a day. I know some people that brush their teeth 3 or 4 times a day! I try to but just as I rarely take my make-up off before I go to bed, I’m not perfect. BUT if I want Lily to do it and I will, because I do recognise the benefits, I should do it too. If I say.. “I am choosing to be unhealthy because I’m an adult but you have to do as I say”.. EH!? If she’s smart, she shouldn’t trust me one bit with nonsense like that.

So I won’t be a hypocrite. I will brush my teeth twice a day. I will eat breakfast every day. I will drink water and eat my vegetables. I will look properly before I cross the road. I will reign in my potty mouth (I may have to start that one now, because it’s going to be bloody hard!). And she will know that we both do these things religiously. Not SOMETIMES.. because how will that help to remove the uncertainty she has. I know there will be mothers out there already thinking.. “yeah, we had all those good intentions too”. And for a child that has not grown up with neglect, maybe it is okay to loosen the rules a little sometimes. But for Lily, if she’s suffered anything like what other children have it is going to be hard enough. She’s going to wonder if I’m ever coming home every time I leave. She may wonder if she’ll get fed at all today because some days she didn’t and she had no idea which ones or why. It will be hard enough without me ignoring the simple things and if I don’t, maybe it will help to make a difference quicker.
And irrespective of whether she’s been through any trauma or not.. I don’t want to just teach my child.. I want to be a role model too.

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