Children Learn by Example. Model What You Want Them to Learn
You are your child’s most influential example of how to live in this world. You may think the outside world has more influence, but it’s not true or backed up by data. Even when they fight with their parents, children tend to model what they learn from their folks more than they do any other influence in their lives.
- Own Up to Your Imperfections – No one is perfect, including you but believe it or not, often kids think their parents are infallible. Even kids who fight with their folks often believe their parents are perfect. Show them that you’re not perfect and talk about your imperfections in an accepting way.
- Know Your Principles, Morals, and Values – If you don’t know what you want and believe in life, it will be hard to pass on these ideas to your kids. Discover yourself and try to follow your values as you make choices in life. When you have particular values, it’s hard for others to trick you into breaking them.
- Share Your Thought Process – When you make certain choices for yourself or your kids, don’t just say it without an explanation. The smallest kids deserve to know what, when, where, why, and how of everything that affects them. For example, you can teach your kids that drinking and driving are dangerous by stating, “I’m not having a drink since I have to drive home in an hour.”
- Help Guide Their Decision-Making Process – Decision-making is a process that is often not discussed aloud. However, if you want healthy, happy kids teaching them your thought process and making good choices will point them in the right direction. Guide them now by asking leading questions to check in with their thoughts and feelings before making a choice.
- Don’t “Do as I Say” Them – The worst thing you can do to your kids is tell them the old saying that they need to do what you say without question and not what you do. If you don’t want your child acting in a particular way, you should not either. If it’s okay to do as an adult, you can say so. They really will understand.
Even if your children separate from you slightly as they become teenagers, once they’re adults, they’re going to be much more like you are right now – especially if you make choices based on your principles, morals, and values backed up by facts. Because of this, you must become the example and model of what you want your child to learn and how you want them to be when they are adults. After all, you’re raising kids who will become adults.