This ad was banned in Australia challenging adults that children see and do what adults do. I think it’s too bad it was banned, the message is one we need and the underlying issues ones that our shiny little worlds need to be rattled to explore but I can understand not wanting this played on network television.
We are the models for children, for positive or negative, adults have influence, particularly parents. How many times when I see my child behaving in a way that I find problematic do I discover upon a moment of introspection that they are behaving in a manner I demonstrated? Far too many.
When we learned our daughters were sexually abused we were introduced to the world of abuse, a cyclical world where often, the abused become abusers. As we waded into how to love and care for our daughters in a way that would help them heal and not become a part of that cycle, we had to ask if our daughters’ abuser was abused. At 14, what he did to our girls at 3 and 5 was likely learned from somewhere and, unfortunately, it was likely from something that was done to him. Developing compassion for him was a part of our own healing, our own journey to help break a cycle that had grabbed our own daughters.
The abuse changed our parenting drastically. One of the first ways being how we handled ourselves, aware that our children were watching for their own healing. We stopped all forms of physical discipline (prior we spanked, did time out, and occasionally used soap to wash mouths) and went to work on ourselves, praying that as we did so our children would be ok. (We helped them work through things as well, family therapy, individual therapy, and community were crucial to our healing experience.) Working through our own issues was one of the healthiest things we could have done as parents. Honestly, it still is. We have come to see that broken people break people and we wanted to be whole even as we were helping our children find their own healing. Hurting people hurt people, working through our issues in pursuit of healing is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children and one of the most important steps we can take as parents.
Our children, your children, everybody’s children, deserve for the adults around them to pursue paths of healing. If hurting people hurt people, how can we not? But it’s not easy and it’s scary. Still, imagine what a gift it is for the next generation. It can start simple enough, what can you change today? What can you stop doing or what can you start doing that will be a step towards making a difference? Just one thing, maybe you don’t throw that can on the ground, maybe you take a deep breath before you yell at someone and find another way to express yourself that won’t be so damaging, maybe you choose to eat better for one meal, or any other myriad of possibilities. The point is, do something, change something, the children will notice.
I look at the adults in these ads that the children are copying and I see hurting people. People that need to be challenged and called out on their behavior but also people that need love, grace, and healing. Broken people.
People like me.
What do you think? Do you agree that this ad should be banned? How are you aware of your influence on children? What are you doing to help yourself work through your own issues? What motivated you to do so?