This is such a common place dialogue which we hear every day, not just as paediatricians but even in day to day conversations
People try to look for similarities between themselves and their children whether true or imagined, in everything, whether it is the time of achieving milestones, food habits or behavioural traits.
But there are instances where this innocuous comment can have undesirable effects.
There is a satirical quote which says “Genetics is science allowing you to blame your parents for everything”
Let us see how we can use these similarities to the child’s benefit & avoid negative comments.
Eg iske papa bhi fruits bilkul nahi khate
Now by commenting on this similarity, we are reinforcing to the child that its ok to not eat a healthy thing like fruits just because the dad doesn’t eat it. Most young children hero-worship their father. This statement gives them the licence not to eat fruits, just because their hero doesn’t eat them.
The right way would be to tell the child that why they should eat a healthy diet. In fact, this could be a very good exercise for the father to try and eat fruits, just to show the child that certain things have to be eaten for good health irrespective of likes and dislikes. Gradually the child will learn to initially tolerate, later accept and maybe even like them.
Aidan Quinn said, “Genetics plays a huge part in who we are. But we also have free will.”
When trying to relive our childhood habits & attributes through our child, it’s very important to remember that inculcating right habits is more important than playing a blame game about which parent is responsible for a bad habit.
Rather, we should look upon this time as an opportunity to improve ourselves, our habits, our manners.
Children look at their parents as role models.
They say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Having well behaved, cultured parents, who are open-minded, having the right values and ethics themselves, is the best way to ensure that the children will be better human beings.
So instead of trying to detect from which genes a child has picked up a bad habit from, it’s better to weed it out.
Positive reinforcement always works better than negative.
Like they say,” If the soil is rich, the fruit will be sweet.”
As parents, let us make ourselves rich with the nutrients of values, manners and habits so that we give the world, healthy children who will make a sweeter world for everyone.
I end with a quote on genetics,
‘Your genetics load the gun,
But it’s your lifestyle which pulls the trigger”