Born or Bred?

I sit back sometimes and watch my son go about his daily routine.

Get up, snuggle in the chair or on the couch with Mommy or Daddy (depending on what day of the week it is and who is up), drink juice, eat breakfast, watch cartoons, play with toys, eat some more, play some more, snuggle some more, sleep (somewhere, on whatever surface is available at the time that he crashes), wake up, play again, bath time, supper time, bedtime. Repeat.

I watch him go about his day with no cares or concerns. No worries or frustrations (other than the ones that arise when he can’t find his favorite toy or when said toys get stuck in odd ball places and he can’t get them out). No sadness. No anger. Just…delight in the small things. The simple things. The things that matter.

The older Little Man gets, the more his personality changes. The more his emotions evolve and change. The more frustration he emits when he doesn’t get his way. The more sadness he feels over small heartbreaks. The more bad behavior that arises in wake of “adversity.”

The older he gets, the more he picks up on things around him. On the personalities of people he encounters. On the circumstances he is brought into. On the way that we [the husband and I] handle life’s little mishaps.

Little Man and I were enjoying a mid-afternoon snack the other day on the living room floor. Just me and him, kicking it on the rug watching reruns of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, discussing the size of Mickey’s ears and how fast Pluto could run vastness of the universe and the secret to life. Our dog, Tessa, was snoozing nearby but perked up when Noah dropped a piece of his food on the floor within sniffing distance. She jumped up and headed over to scoop it up when Little Man stood up and yelled, “No, Tessa! Bad, bad girl!” and picked his food up so she couldn’t get it. He set it to the side because it was “nasty” and plopped back down on the rug. Without missing a beat he looked over at me, rolled his eyes and said simply, “Dumb Dog…” and went back to watching his cartoons.

I admit, that cracked me up for a few minutes. Obviously he heard the husband and I call her that (seriously, this dog is nuts….the stories I could tell…) but doesn’t know what it means. He just knows that when she’s being bad, that’s what we tend to say (to each other, under our breath…or so I thought).

It made me start thinking about what else he is picking up on. I think we all, as parents, realize that our lifestyle, our choices, our personalities impact the lives of our children and the people they become. But, sometimes I think that we forget that everything we do is influencing them. 

It made me wonder if the tantrums, the fits, the nasty little attitude he gets when he doesn’t get his way is something he was just born with and is now understanding how to verbalize…or if these are bits and pieces of the vibes that we’ve been giving off in our home.

We aren’t a “fuss, fight and argue” kind of household. In fact, the husband and I get along well, keep the yelling to the minimum and maintain an overall healthy and cheerful attitude in our home.

But there are times…

Frustrating times…

Bad times…

Angry times…

that we lose our positive outlook and loving demeanor and let things slip.

And I wonder if these moments are the ones that impact our children the most.

I like to think that our children, no matter how young, pick up on the good and the bad. But my question is…

Are they born with bad behavior in their blood?
Or do they learn it from us?

Linking up today with Shell @ Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out!




  1. says

    I think it’s a little of both. On the one hand, you don’t have to tell kids how to disobey or get into trouble – they naturally just figure it out. But on the other hand, it’s pretty obvious that they pick up some things from us!

  2. says

    Born with it and bred for it, too! I think the very same thing about Abbey all the time. The best we can do is to be compassionate with our children and model the behaviors we want to nurture in them. . . and when we do do things that we shouldn’t, genuinely apologize and correct our behavior. And when they do repeat things that we wish they didn’t pick up on, we can try (and fail) not to laugh our asses off 😉 *hugs*

  3. says

    I really think we’re all born with a sinful nature and it’s up to us as parents to guide and shape our children so that they’re able to work within it. I mean, we’re all sinners right? Of course I think we as parents can have a huge influence on our kids’ attitudes and outlook on life. But as a whole – I believe we’re innately born selfish and sinful. It sounds kids of depressing doesn’t it? Thank goodness for God’s grace!

  4. says

    Oh, this is such a rough one. I think part of their personality is born with them and part is shaped(otherwise, all of my boys would be the same instead of SO different).

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