June returns every year at this time, and the cycle of this month’s events and celebrations continue year after year!

Our lives are also cyclical in nature, a baby grows into a toddler – little girl to woman – youngster to teenager – little boy to man – birth to death. These are just some of the cycles that exist innately… the effortless evolvement from one stage to another is destined and we are not in control of the outcome…it just happens!

There are some cycles, however, that we actually can control that are being passed on from generation to generation. But these cycles of unhealthy behaviors can be broken; creating the possibility to create new, healthier cycles that can be modeled for years to come, awareness is the first step and is the key…without it these cycles will unconsciously continue.

Many parents and teachers share complaints about the behavior of their children or students, partners, fellow teachers, friends… actually the list could go on and on! The common theme is that it always seems to be somebody else’s fault and they continue to feel frustrated, as they try to control, change or fix the inappropriate behaviors.

We may want them to do as we say, but our children watch us, behaving and reacting in the ways that we do, and learn from that example. We can’t change or fix anyone – I know only too well how exhausted I was trying to change and control my kids and I finally realized a cycle that I wanted to change.

This awareness created the opening for me to do it differently. Once I stopped judging and blaming my children or others as the cause of my stress or unhappiness and became aware of and took responsibility for my own behaviors and reactions, I was able to break the “yelling” cycle in my family. As I shifted so did my children, creating a less stressed and more loving and peaceful life.

Let’s face it, we all get angry sometimes and the habitual way we express this anger is just one of many unhealthy cycles that we are teaching our children.

For example, if we get angry or disappointed by the behavior our child or student is exhibiting, we may react by sternly projecting our discontentment, we may yell or give “the look” that makes it clear that we are not pleased, and the energy of our angry feelings comes through loud and clear. The child may stop his/her behavior, for the moment, but soon after the behavior and cycle starts all over again.

So when our children or students get mad at us and perhaps yell trying to get their own way or point across, we as the adult, having taught them that this behavior is okay in the first place, tell them to stop, that it is unacceptable behavior. Maybe in school they get sent down to the office or receive a detention for being disrespectful or, at home they might get sent to their room, grounded or in more extreme situations, unfortunately punished more severely.

A woman once shared with me that her six-year-old was having a temper tantrum one day and was yelling at her. She said, “Stop yelling at me!”, and he responded with, “Why, you yell at me?” She became speechless…she realized in that moment that he was absolutely right! The children in our lives are like our mirror, and our awareness can awaken if we choose to look at behaviors from this reflection.

It is our responsibility to be the parents, teachers, and role models the children of this world need us to be. We can only change what we are willing to look at and we are only ready to look at it when we are.

Our kids are watching us very intently as we slam our golf club into the ground because of a missed shot, or repeatedly honk the horn at someone who cuts us off. They witness the communication dysfunction as we hold onto blame and resentment, perhaps not speaking to certain people in our lives, maybe even a family member or hear us as we gossip about a student we hope not to have in our class next year.

So as we celebrate Father’s Day, pack up our classrooms until September and spend our summer vacations with our families, let’s become aware of what we may be unintentionally teaching the children around us, so we can inspire them to do as we do!

Author's Bio: 

A reaction, a look or a phrase, and we catch ourselves, “I’ve turned into my mom/dad!” Jo-Anne Cutler is no exception. Once she became aware of the unconscious messages that accompanied her words and reactions, she made a conscious choice to change. Jo-Anne knew that if she could do it, anyone could. In addition to being a writer, she supports her vision of empowering and inspiring others to be the parents, teachers and role models the children of this world need them to be, by creating awareness as a speaker and coach, offering programs as well as a monthly newsletter on how to keep all the great stuff we’ve learned from our parents while breaking the cycle of the, well, not so good stuff! For more information or to contact Jo-Anne directly, please visit http://www.jcconnections.ca