"To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while."
~ Josh Billings
As a parent, it does not work to have a “Do as I say, not what I do” attitude. Kids of all ages are aware of everything you do and everything you say. How many times have you heard a child say something disrespectful or something even worse, such as a swear word? Guess where that came from? Often, it comes from the parent, but sometimes it comes from children watching a show that isn’t age-appropriate or even from one of their friends who heard a comment from an older kid.
If we want our children to grow into responsible, caring adults, we need to lead them all along the way. Our example is their primary example and if we have some bad habits of our own, once the kids start arriving is a good time to do a re-evaluation of ourselves. We may just have to clean up our language, getting rid of a few easily said swear words, stop eating pie for breakfast, or having a beer every night. We have to remember that we are now living in a Monkey See Monkey Do world.
- You are your Child’s best role model and teacher.
- Ask yourself, would I want my child to behave this way?
Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners.
~ Author Unknown
Kids like to mimic, and if you haven’t gone through that stage with your kids yet, you will. For some reason children find it terribly amusing to mimic everything you say or their sibling says. Siblings, of course, find this very annoying.
Keep in mind that your child is absorbing everything around him, cataloging every little thing that is said and heard. If you don’t want something repeated do not say it within earshot of your children. It may come back to bite you.
Consider for a moment, the type of adult you want to raise. Now think about what you have taught your child thus far along his journey to adulthood. If you have never considered this before, look at your actions, language and efforts. Do they enforce the values you want to teach your child. For example, do not expect them to treat others with respect if you teach them disrespect by the way you treat them or others.
As parents, we are also responsible for what we allow our children to watch or see on television, what sites they visit on the computer, and other materials that may influence their behavior or have an adverse affect on them. Too many children are allowed to watch movies and shows that are inappropriate for their age. Even babies and toddlers are affected by scenes and sounds they are exposed to at an early age. Many people think young children are oblivious to television or a movie playing in the background, but it can affect their sleep and their interactions with others. Studies have shown that children who view violence on television exhibit more aggression with their peers.
- Get rid of any bad or rude language
- Treat your child with respect
- Show kindness, respect, and consideration for others
- Take responsibility for your child’s behavior (often some of it results from a parent or another family member)
- Monitor what your children watch, or see, on television, DVDs or movies. Stay aware of sites your child visits on the computer and other such devices.
- Know your child’s friends and, as they get older, verify your child’s whereabouts.
From "Parenting Without A Paddle: Navigating the Waters of Parenthood" by Kristin Fitch and Sharon Pierce McCullough.