One would think it was the last bottle of water in the Sahara. Droves of people pushing, pulling, grabbing and shoving their way so they can have the bragging rights of “mine, it’s all mine and you can’t have any.” The aggressive behavior, much like what any parent of a toddler sees almost daily, is the foray that was Black Friday, 2015.
With aggressive behavior, a child has not learned that it is not ok to force his way to get his way. In other words, when young, the moral compass is ready to be shaped and can be modeled into preferred behavior. More so and beyond the behavior not being “ok,” but rather the behavior has actions that are greater than himself.
In the case of Black Friday shoppers mobbing others over the last crock pot and must-have over-sized TV, it is no surprise that children in tow receive a mixed message when observing the behavior. We teach children to be patient, wait their turn and do unto others. Ironically, not even 24 hours prior, many of the same pushy, grabby shoppers sat around a table saying praise and thanks for what they were about to receive.
For what THEY were about to receive.
And that is where the teaching moment comes in play. Teaching children that the giving begets giving and to watch the reaction of the one receiving that gift, no matter how big or small, is in itself a gift.
So, what can you do to teach your child alternatives to aggressive behavior that will yield him a lifetime of reward? I am reminded of the first seven of the very basic principles from Robert Fulghum’s best seller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten:
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
Related read: 6 Simple Strategies to Avoid Cyber Bullying
Children do not need, nor can they process, a long convoluted explanation. Keeping it simple, clear, direct and consistent will plant the seed of positive behavior. Additionally, as a parent, it goes without saying that one must be the change they want to see. When a child sees mom or dad knocking over other shoppers in the quest to have things or save a dollar, it teaches them their aggressive behavior is ok to use in like-minded situations. And really, it never is. No one got ahead by pushing, punching or taking from others.