If you are looking for some Parenting 101 advice – that is: Practice What You Preach (Stop Being A Hypocrite!) – then you have come to the right place!
From a very young age, children learn to imitate others. In fact this is how they learn to behave, care for themselves, develop new skills, and communicate with others.
From their earliest moments your kids watch you (and the significant others in the life) closely – like a little curious hawk looking for guidance – and they ultimately pattern their own behavior and beliefs after what they see.
Whether you like it or not, your examples become permanent images, which ultimately shape their attitudes and actions for the rest of their life.
SO WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU TEACHING THEM?
If children are great imitators, you need to give them SOMETHING GREAT to imitate.
This is parenting in a nutshell:
You need to be the sort of person you want your children to be.
More importantly, parent like someone is watching because someone always is
HOW DO YOU WANT THEM TO INTERACT WITH OTHERS?
Your kids watch you for a living. It’s their job; it’s what they do. That’s why it’s so important to try your best to be a good role model. James Lehman
You need to remember your kids are watching your every move. If you want to teach them about respect then you need to behave respectfully to others.
If you want your kids to grow and become responsible, honest and loving human beings, then you need to be responsible, honest and loving with your child.
There is little point trying to teach a lesson about respect or loyalty or hard work to your kids if you are rude, lazy or disrespectful to others yourself.
There is little point in saying one thing – “eat healthy!”, “be kind!” or “exercise regularly! – if you turn around two seconds later and do something completely different yourself.
Um…in case you’re wondering this behavior falls under the definition of a hypocrite and hypocrites tend not to be the best teachers.
SO ARE YOU IN FACT A HYPOCRITE OR INCONSISTENT IN YOUR TEACHINGS?
If so, I probably don’t need to state the fact this that is one way to seriously confuse your children. All they learn here is that’s okay to say one thing and do something completely different a minute later.
Being inconsistent in your parenting – failing to practice what you preach – teaches your kids that they don’t always have to stick to their word, and that it’s acceptable to make plans and promises and completely ditch them the next day.
If the significant people in their life do it, why can’t they too?
The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are. Jim Henson
MODEL SELF CARE
When I speak of practicing what you preach, it’s also important to look at how you treat yourself.
Often we are so focused on what’s best for our children and family that we forget to take care of our own needs.
You may think this “selfless” behavior is great but in reality it is just as important to take good care of yourself.
Your family most likely counts on you physically and emotionally in life, so it’s imperative that you teach your child by example that taking care of yourself is a good thing!
Making your health a priority enables you to take care of your children and the rest of your family too.
Self-care is so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel – Eleanor Brown
Self-care teaches your child that you are not only their parent, but your own person with your interests and needs.
It also gives them a chance to show you how well they can do without your attention for a while. This fosters independence, new life skills and a healthy sense of self-esteem in a child.
Don’t forget it’s important for a child to learn through experience that they are loved even when their parents aren’t by their side 100% of the time.
MODEL HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
I seriously love the following piece of advice:
Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.
Now think about how this applies to you being a good role model for your children.
Are you modelling healthy relationships at home?
Are you honest, respectful and kind with your partner?
What expectations may your child have about relationships in the future as a result of the ones they are witnessing?
Practicing what you preach also holds true for the relationships you have with your spouse, parents, and other family members and friends that are a part of your child’s life.
It’s important to nurture your relationship with your spouse if you are in a relationship or if you are single, to nurture the relationship you have with yourself.
Let your child see you communicating with others in a positive and healthy manner, and showing love and affection so he or she can learn from an early age what a healthy marriage and relationships look like.
YOU NEED TO BE HONEST WITH YOUR KIDS
Before we end I should note that you seriously don’t have to be Superwoman to be a good parent.
Don’t even bother trying because it’s an impossible goal.
Instead my goal is simply for you to be more conscious of your words and actions because one day you may see your child patterning many of his or her behaviors after your own.
Great when you are behaving well – bad when they are adopting all your worst habits!
This is not a time to be ignorant – I have given you fair warning about this!
It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself. Eleanor Roosevelt
Perhaps try practicing what you preach before you try to teach it to someone else. Take your own advice every once in a while!
There’s nothing pleasant about becoming someone who is blind to their own mistakes but eager to point out everyone else’s errors and flaws.
Practicing what you preach doesn’t mean you can’t mess up once in a while (or every day). Chances are you will.
But that’s okay. Own up to mistakes when you make them, and communicate open and honestly with your children.
Let them know you are always, always trying to do your best. This will help your child build a strong sense of security and self-esteem. And that’s the ultimate goal right?
Finally remember this:
Your beliefs don’t make you a better person. Your behavior does.
Practicing what you preach is such a simple way to make you a more authentic person.
BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL INSTEAD
-Show compassion and understanding
-Stay positive and in control of your emotions
-Ask for help when you need it
-Think before you speak
-Don’t blame others – take responsibility for your actions
-A thirst for knowledge
-A passion for life