When I was a child there were always things my parents told me to do or not to do and to say or not to say.
‘Get your feet off the chair’, ‘say please’, ‘tidy your room’, and ‘be good’ are just some of the phrases I heard constantly, along with lots of other children.
For most of us, our parents tell us what to do and say because they want us to be the best we can be. They want us to be nice and kind, they want us to eat and sleep well, and they want us to be happy.
It’s those little phrases we might think nothing of at the time that can have an impact on the person we become, whether it’s five days or five years down the line.
We also listen to the way our parents speak, their opinions, and we watch what they do and how they react. Those too, will more than impact on us in some way or another.
But something else that can impact on the way a person develops is not being told or taught anything at all.
I recently read an article online about a five-year-old boy from Manchester who was seen on CCTV abusing a cat for eight minutes. My heart sank as I watched the child chase, hit and kick the cat repeatedly before throwing her into a bush.
I know sometimes children make mistakes and it doesn’t mean they’re bad children, but I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth this little boy would have wanted to do that.
It got me thinking about the importance of being taught good values from a young age.
In this instance the child may not have been taught to be cruel to animals, but it’s possible he was never taught NOT to be.
Don’t get me wrong – I know there are mothers and fathers out there whose children do or say something bad even though they’ve taught them not too.
We’ve all done it – eating chocolate before dinner and then not being able to actually eat our meals – never went down well in any household, did it?
But I admire the parents, grandparents and carers who do their utmost to instil good values on the little ones in their lives, including my own.
I remember being taught to always be kind to animals no matter their size. I’d like to think that now, as an animal lover, I’d have grown up that way anyway, but I know my mum in particular had a part to play in my attitude.
The same goes for being an older brother or sister, cousin or friend to a younger child. They pick up on everything we do and rely on us to teach them right from wrong, so let’s make sure we do them proud. And if you have decent values because of your parents, thank them.
Twenty-three-year-old Tamara Siddiqui is a journalist from Portsmouth. Read her views on life as a modern woman in an ever-changing world every week in The News.