“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.” ― Charles F. Kettering
No greater advice for a writer than to simply observe others. This is how the astute writer learns about human nature and its most important lesson for parents and all humans who engage with children. A universal truth is that children will do as you do, not as you say.
Children, and I have over abundance of experience with them, are simplistic in that they live what they learn. Most often children learn by observation. That’s correct, little brother is watching you. So be careful what you do. Also he/she is listening, so for gods sake watch what you say when you’re around kids. Remember the old TV show with Art Linkletter, (OMG, am I dating myself or what?) “Kids say the darnedest things?” It’s all true. He never went far for filler for that show.
Take a page from your own life, as I’m sure we all can.
When I was about 16 years old, my mother and her girlfriend were having a good, old-fashioned gossip session, while my “know-it-all” four-year old brother was in the room with them. They were discussing the arrival of a mutual friends illegitimate grandchild, and the associated embarrassment accompanying such a birth. So my little brother interrupts.
“Is she married?’
My mother,startled, replies, “no”.
“Then she cannot have any children”, the know-it-all pipes in.
“Why would you say that?” my foolish mother asks, clearly confused.
“You said last week people don’t have children unless they are married. So, if she isn’t married God would know not to send her any children.” Smiling huge, he turned back to his Lincoln Logs and I dissolved in laughter. Guess who got into trouble?
The moral of this story is you can never be too careful. Good advice for all parties, whether or not they were in on the conversation or the overall “production”.
This is my insight and best advice for dealing with or writing for children: Never turn your back on them. Seriously.