Raising a good person

Monkey seems to be growing into such a sweet little soul. He is in a really cuddly phase at the moment and is cuddling everything, toys, books, statues, fish tanks, crisp packets, receipts, crisps. Literally everything he likes gets a cuddle! He is also really generous and often gives out food to his friends and family, and even gave his favourite bus toy to his friend to play with (though she was less happy to share her toys with him!).


He’s also just a pretty good boy. I mean, he’s a toddler so he has his moments and obviously isn’t perfect but on the whole he does listen to us and does as we ask. I wish I could take credit for this, and say it must be down to my amazing parenting (lol) but I think we are just lucky and he has a sweet nature. Hubby says that even his nature comes from us, through his genes, but I don’t think it is that straightforward! And yes, I know this could all change as soon as hits the terrible 2/3s but, well, we will just have to wait and see with that one!

Anyway, I was chatting to a friend a few days ago about one of his cute recent habits, and she said something that surprised me a little, and really made me stop and think. I can’t remember word for word but she basically suggested that we should teach him to be less generous, and one bit I do remember clearly, was that she said “sometimes you have to teach them things that aren’t right” so they don’t get trampled on, or taken advantage of.

It reminded me of a conversation with another friend a while ago who was teaching her little one that if someone pushes him, then he should push them back. Her reasoning being that she was picked on a lot as a kid, and she didn’t want her kids to be picked on.

I was always taught from the old adage of “do unto others as you would have done unto you” (In plainer English, “Treat people how you would like to be treated”)  and that two wrongs don’t make a right. I have to say that is always the way I thought I wanted to raise my children. Yes I want them to be strong and confident, but overall I want to raise them to be good people.

The comments from different friends, at very different times, have made me stop and wonder. Am I doing Monkey a disservice. Am I raising a child to be bullied or picked on or walked all over? Instead of encouraging what I perceive to be his gorgeous, gentle nature, should I be encouraging him to be tougher? Am I raising him to be gentle in a world which is tough?

I was pondering this as Monkey and I were wandering out of the supermarket the other day. He had been a really good boy (again he’s a toddler so he had a couple of meltdowns, but nothing too major) and was walking along holding on to the trolley. We were walking at his pace and it was taking a while. We were parked quite far away from the doors, and as we walked through the main trolley area near the entrance, I was thinking to myself whether to walk Monkey all the way back with the trolley after loading the car, or to pop him in the car, and rush the trolley back. I can’t carry him anymore because of my pelvis, and I also can’t rush very easily.

Just then I was pleasantly surprised by a very kind man. One of the trolley collectors saw Monkey and I, smiled, and came over. He then said to me, “I’ll follow you up to your car in a minute, and I’ll bring your trolley back for you.” It took us a few mins to wander to the car so he wasn’t far behind us, and actually helped me load the car, then used his key device to give me my pound back and took the trolley. For no reason other than to be a nice person.

It reignited my faith in people and reminded me of the good samaritan last year who found my purse in a car park, found my address inside, and brought it round to our house, rather than stealing anything. There are good people in the world. There are nice people. There is nothing wrong with encouraging Monkey to be a nice person.

I’m not saying my friends are wrong and I am right, and I’m not saying their children won’t grow up to be good people either. We’re all just doing the best we can and all just want the best for our children. Maybe I will regret my decisions and maybe I will change my mind over time. But, right now, I do feel more confident in letting Monkey be Monkey and encouraging his naturally kind, generous nature. I will stick to my guns and teach him to be a good person above all. I hope that over time I will be able to teach him to be confident enough in himself to not allow himself to be walked all over.

He isn’t quite 2 yet after all so who knows how his personality will develop in the years to come! What are your thoughts? Again, no judgement here as I could well be wrong, but I am just doing the best I can!

The Reading Residence

52 thoughts on “Raising a good person

  1. this is a really interesting topic. i think people can have lovely natures and be kind to others without being a pushover or taking advantage of but its a sad reality that lots of people see kindness as ‘weakness’ almost. all we can really do is lead by example but i’d never want my son to think that hitting back is the right thing to do. i think that sends really mixed messages (hitting is only wrong if you are the first to hit?) #letkidsbekids

    • Thank you, I hadn’t ever thought of it before, and was just doing what I thought was right and I agree it is sad to think of kindness as a weakness, when I think it is a fantastic quality! x

  2. They really told their children to hit back? whoa. What if someone hits the kids accidentaly? There are gray areas in this logic that a child might not see that can result to very bad things. I just tell my son to tell an older person (or the teachers in preschool) if someone is mean to him. YOur boy is sweet. My son wouldnt even bother to lend his toys. I would leave the discipling to you but he is so sweet and I know you dont want to change that. Why mend something not is not really broken? In short #Letkidsbekids

    • Very true and thank you, I really don’t want to change his sweet little nature! Telling an adult seems like a good message to learn too xx

  3. great post, and definatly gave me something to think about, i dont believe my kids will ever be ”walked all over” they most definatly know how to stand their ground…i think being so close (13mth age gap) they have had to learn that you dont always get what you want…I often let them ‘fight it out’ themselves when they want the same toy, which my sister hates! BUT they also have the kindest nature, the most impeccable manners you have ever seen in a 2 and 3 year old!

    • Yep I think having siblings definitely teaches them a lot about sharing, and also about standing up for themselves. Lovely they have such good manners, love seeing toddlers who are so polite! 🙂 xx

  4. I think you should do what instinctively feels right for you and the character of your child. They have right to be the person they are, we can only guide them and it sounds like your doing a pretty good job to me. #letkidsbekids

    • Thank you, that’s very kind and I agree, it is good to follow your instincts and trust you know what is best for your child xx

  5. Personally I think you’re right. Teaching a child kindness and compassion will get them further in life than pushing back if they get pushed. While you don’t want your kids to get walked all over, you also don’t want them turning into the class bully either. It’s easy to start thinking the world is full of a-holes, but there are lots of decent folk out there, and I for one would like my kids to be decent too 🙂 #ThemeGame

    • That’s exactly my worry and really I guess i want a middle ground, a kind kid who won’t be walked all over. I guess it’s what we all want for our kids isn’t it? xx

  6. With the greatest of respect to your friends, I agree with you. I fundamentally believe in the idea that you treat others in the way you would like to be treated. It does have it’s issues, and yes you can be taken advantage of but I wouldn’t want to be any other way. Two wrongs don’t make it right as they say. Thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame

    • Thanks Iona, it’s difficult to write as I am not wanting to criticise them, they have to do what feels right for them, but for me I have to stick to the fundamentals I believe in and hope that this leads my kids down the right path. xx

  7. A really interesting post. It’s not something I’ve given loads of conscious thought to, to be honest, but you’re making me think about it now. I’ve certainly never told my kids to push back or similar, and instead teach them about manners, sharing and being kind to people. I hope that this sets them up well in life, as I’ve done OK with it myself. I’m also trying to engender self respect, and very importantly, self belief, which I hope will stand them in good stead. But they’re so small, and I think we’ve a long way to go yet! Thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame x

    • I think our approaches sound really similar, and like you, it’s not something i had thought much about before. Like you say, they are so little, and there is a lot of growing to be done yet! xx

  8. Very interesting post. I believe what you are doing is right. I think, we should be able to teach children to stand up for themselves in a nicer way, to be able to use communication rather than retaliation. Children shouldn’t have to get physical to stand up for themselves. However, I can see where your friends are coming from in this tough world too.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

    • Thanks Karen, I find it really interesting, as ever parenting can be a bit of a minefield to navigate across and we’ve all just got to choose the way that is best for us I guess, and hope it’s the right one! xx

  9. I too teach my children to treat others how they want to be treated. I probably repeat this saying a little too often but I believe it is so important. #letkidsbekids

    • I think it’s important too and remember my mum saying it a lot, repetition is good with kids I think! xx

  10. For me I can only say you are doing the right thing. I don’t think children should be learning to cope in a “bad” world where they can be picked on but to grow with a sense they can be confident to face it and maybe even change it.

  11. I can relate to so much of this and often wonder similar things. My M sounds very like your monkey in nature. I tend to agree with you, do unto others…. Kindness is the most important lesson too. Brilliant post. X

    • Thank you! It’s difficult isn’t it, glad it’s not just me who wonders if I am teaching the right thing, but i do think kindness is so important! xx

  12. Such a wonderful, thought provoking post. This is not an issue I have consciously debated. I just teach my children to be kind and generous and would never consider telling them to hit back. What is the world coming to if we teach them that violence will solve a problem? Keep on as you are doing, monkey sounds fantastic x #letkidsbekids

    • Thank you, you are very kind and I definitely hope to continue encouraging his kind and generous nature! xx

  13. Really interesting post. On the whole O is a very good boy but he can have flashes where he doesn’t want to share or wait his turn (typical toddler behaviour). I stress how important it is to think of others to him.
    A few times now he has been pushed by other kids or had his turn pinched, whilst their parents watched on and didn’t react. I wouldn’t dream of telling him to push back, but I think that’s the part of me that doesn’t like confrontation. I don’t think that’s teaching him to be a pushover, more to be the bigger person, if you see what I mean.
    Ooh, I could ramble on more but time to get ready for work. Great post! xx

    • Thank you! I’m with you on not liking confrontation, I hate it and would always be the bigger person and walk away, though it does infuriate me when i see parents letting their kids get away with murder! Glad you enjoyed reading! xx

  14. Great post!! It’s a funny thing isn’t it!! Nothing that you would consider before having kids as something that would be an issue….raising your kids to be too nice. I’m not sure how we will tackle this one either!!!!

    • Thank you! Ut us really not something I had ever thought about before either! Part of the minefield that is parenting sometimes! xx

  15. This is something I’ve faced even more, now that my three are all school age too. It’s a tricky one, isn’t it? I can totally see where the ‘push back’ camp come from – kids can be mean, and awful to each other, and the thought of mine being upset in the playground is heartbreaking (of course, I’m not naive enough to think that it mightn’t be them doing the upsetting at some point!) But on the other hand, I just don’t think it’s in our nature, as a family, to be this way. Noah had a bit of trouble with a boy last year, and when telling the teacher hadn’t worked, in desperation we told him to gently push the boy back if he came near him again. His answer? ‘But that wouldn’t be very nice mummy!’ And I was a bit mortified that my six year old had shamed me on this one! We are looking at other ways to deal with conflict now – the jury’s still out – I’ll keep you posted! Really great post Caroline! Xx #sharewithme

    • This is really interesting Emma, particularly given your recent experience. Must be really hard not knowing what to do in that situation, particularly if telling the teacher hasn’t worked. I guess that’s exactly what worries me! Love that he said that to you, it’s just too cute and very lovely. I really hope you can find a way to resolve the conflict! Thank you and glad you enjoyed reading! xx

  16. Great post! Your monkey seems like such a kind-natured little boy. It seems natural to encourage his kindness, just like you are doing. Mel #ShareWithMe

  17. Great post and great point of view too I think you are doing the right thing. You can stand up for yourself in a nice way. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me Love reading your writing and seeing your adorable lovely boy grow through photos into a great young boy. #sharewithme

  18. A couple of things spring to mind when reading this. Firstly, sometimes I think we parents create a different history for our children by using our past. The other is that I think you have identified what makes Monkey happy, and you are teaching him a valuable lesson in how to be a happy adult. Just my take on it from my own observations of a teen that was once like monkey, and is now a kind compassionate soul and a tot who too loves to show affection. Great Post

    • Thanks Zena, it’s lovely to get your perspective, having seen a little one who is very similar, grow into a teen. Thank you for the lovely comment xx

  19. There is no way you’re doing Monkey a disservice by allowing his natural personality to shine through. If at some point in his age (fingers crossed it doesn’t happen) and he starts getting pushed around, you can then explain how to deal with it. I work by the basis of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!” and there is nothing broken about Monkey. He’s a lovely chappie and a real credit to you and hubbie xx #sharewithme

    • Thanks Cathie, that’s a lovely thing to say and I think you’re right, and we’ll just have to cross any bridges when we come to it! xx

  20. Lucas says – Don’t ever change Monkey – he’s awesome and we at KidGLloves think you are a pretty cool mum. If anyone EVER picks on Monkey, we’ll send the GL Gang round!!!! 😉 #sharewithme

  21. What a bizarre take on life your friend has. No offense but I think that’s quite a sad way to bring up a child. I much prefer your method. The world needs more good people and that’s all there is to it. #sharewithme

    • It’s difficult and we all have to do what we think is best, but the world does need more good people and i hope I can raise my kids to be good and kind xx

  22. Really interesting post, and very cute picture of Monkey cuddling the Corgi (or whatever it is!). I think the most important thing you can do for a boy is raise them to be kind. To consider other people’s feelings. I say boy advisedly, because although of course I think it’s the same for girls, without being too dramatic, it is predominantly men who can seriously affect the world by being “unkind”, as the papers tell us every day. Also, it’s not a question of right or wrong – you should follow your instinct as Monkey’s mother, you know him better than anyone, and the sort of person you want him to become.

    • Thank you, and I know what you mean, though girls can definitely be unkind too, boys tend to be more aggressive with it and cause more problems. I don’t think it’s a matter for right or wrong either, and like you, is more about trusting your instincts, I need to trust mine a bit more i think! xx

  23. A thought provoking post, I would like to say don’t change anything, you are bringing Monkey up brilliantly and we need more children like him. My two are of a very similar nature particularly Little 2, she is so kind and polite, and sometimes her big sister will take advantage of this (e.g If anyone asks nicely for the toy she has she will just hand it over saying ‘ok I share with you’,). There are other ways to do things such as when little 1 was being bullied instead of telling her to hit back I told her to say loudly ‘Don’t do that , I don’t like it’ it worked and it stopped. #letkidsbekids

    • Thank you and I love that bit of advice at the end. I think that is fantastic and absolutely what I will try and teach Monkey to say too. I want him to be confident enough to stand up for himself, without hitting or pushing or being mean back. Glad to hear it worked for you! xx

  24. Lovely post, I agree that we have to steer our little ones in the right direction and have our fingers crossed that they turns into beautiful, well mannered children. We are lucky that Lil G listens to us and generally accepts reason, like someone else has said he does struggle to wait in turn but I always correct him unlike so many other parents at the park for example which is really frustrating. I see Lil G looking at me as if to say why can he/she do it mummy. KA x

    • Oh I know exactly what you mean, it can be so frustrating! Difficult to teach your child one thing when they see others doing the absolute opposite and getting away with it! xx

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