“Do as I say, not as I do,” can come back to bite you if you don’t watch out.
You are your kids’ first teacher. You teach them to talk and walk, what to eat, how to read and how to bully other children. Wait, what? Kids do what they’re taught and the most powerful parenting doesn’t come through a parent’s words, it comes through the behaviors of the parent. Kids observe how the adults around them behave, and they take on and repeat those behaviors, even when they’ve been instructed NOT to. Lead by example. If you don’t want them to hit, don’t hit. If you don’t want them to curse, don’t curse. If you don’t want them to quit, don’t quit. If you want them to be kind to others, be kind to others. Teach them to rise above adversity, animosity and to have a positive outlook when things are bleak. Don’t be a hypocrite. So, are you a hypocritical parent? Here are six indicators to help you find out …
If parents argue and fight with each other, with others in general or with their children, this is the exact behavior kids will repeat back. When a child’s being attacked in any way, it immediately puts him on the defensive. Emotions are contagious, so the child will take on the energy of the parent to defend himself, and then get in trouble for it. If a parent doesn’t want their children to fight and argue, then the parent cannot show them this method of behavior as a viable option by using it themselves. Demonstrate to your kids how to solve problems without fighting.
All parents, male and female, have a responsibility to dress like adults and model adult behavior, responsibility and dignity if they want these qualities in their kids. If parents — especially moms — are over-sexualized they cannot expect their daughters to do, be or think any differently about themselves. Likewise, boys should dress the way they’d like to be perceived. If they want to be perceived as a slob, then dressing like a slob is OK. Perception is reality.
When teens get grounded for smoking, drinking or doing drugs it becomes confusing if they witness the same behaviors in their parents. If parents are partiers the kids will see drugs or alcohol as feasible options for coping with stress or for having fun. What do you think they should see it as?
Being a parent means being a working part of the family when it comes to the chores and daily upkeep issues of the household. If parents are lazy and fail to participate in the workings of the household, children will learn and take on this laziness for themselves. Parents have to demonstrate a “carrying on” attitude with all that life at home entails. Play comes in when the work is done.
5 Breaking Commitments
Most parents expect their kids to follow through on their commitments, and yet many parents back out on commitments made to kids. When parents don’t keep promises to show up and take part in their child’s life, this teaches children they’re not worthy. This lack of commitment can also be demotivating for children and can elicit rebellion in important areas such as school, sports, chores and friendships.
When children get the message from their parents that “You can be whatever you want to be as long as we agree with it,” this mixed-message interferes with the child’s desire for personal growth. Parents who encourage independence and self-expression need to do that without insisting their child’s preferences be the same as theirs — from political beliefs, extra-curricular interests, religious beliefs, etc. Parents can be guideposts on real-life matters, but they need to trust that experience will ultimately be the greatest teacher.
Many parents believe that certain behaviors are exclusive to them because they’re adults. Think about how your actions influence your children and remember that children do what parents do not what parents say. I’ve seen an amazing amount of anger and resentment occur in children when they’re corrected or get in trouble for doing the same things their parents are doing, or act the way the parents act. So, my advice is: Let your children inspire you to be the person you want them to be. It’s not too late, you can change, learn and grow together!