Ronald Reagan will forever be remembered as the “Trickle down” guy (suddenly that sounds like a major Depends malfunction. ew!). I actually agree with his economic “baby” and just like many other principles, it applies to more than economics.
Trickle down works in families too. There’s that obnoxiously true saying… come on, repeat it with me, “If mama ain’t happy…” Seriously, the day I realized how true that was was started a huge change in my home. Does that mean I’m always “happy” now? No, but I do have better control over how I express my displeasure and that control seems to have extended to limiting how often I am truly… um… dis-pleasured. The same is true for older children. Their misbehavior and disobedience/defiance often sets the tone for the younger children. Pretty soon, you have not just disrespectful oldest, but four kids all clamoring for most obnoxious child of the month.
However, it is amazing how correcting the attitudes in yourself or one of your children can have a positive cause and effect in the rest of them. Johnny has gotten away with being mouthy and rude for far too long and finally mom has had it. She realizes he’s mirroring her in too many ways so not only does she have to put a stop to it in him, but she has to stop her own lousy attitude as well. She learns to bite her tongue, stops the backtalk every time it happens, and sure enough, the rest of the children slowly follow suit.
Of course, this often reveals other problems you’ve missed due to being so annoyed at the smart mouthing. Susie isn’t completing her work in a timely manner or is bossing the younger children. It’ s amazing how weeding out one type of weed in the garden… making sure you have every one of those dandelions gone… reveals a bunch of fox tails!
Trickle down works both ways. You get to choose whether the good is trickling down or the bad. Your attitudes, behavior, and demeanor sets a tone that your older children will imitate and in turn, your younger children will learn. Start with self, don’t wait to perfect it, just start there, and then move onto weeding the gardens of your children’s hearts before the weeds choke out the seeds that you’ve been trying to plant there.