The Five Pillars to Positive Parenting / 5
Being a shining example: it’s time to put your actions where your mouth is
By Mona Andrei
September 26, 2023
“Do as I say, not as I do.”
How many of us have heard this from our parents? I’m guessing many. And here’s another guess: even if you were a child when you heard those words, they probably made your eyes roll. This is because instinctively, you KNEW that hearing this – “Do as I say, not as I do” – was wrong. Wrong. WRONG.
And now that you’re an adult with children of your own, you’ve come to realize that children are like sponges, soaking up the world around them, especially the behaviours of the adults they look up to. It’s like they have a built-in radar for hypocrisy, and they can spot it from a mile away, just as we did at their age.
… children are like sponges, soaking up the world around them, especially the behaviours of the adults they look up to.
So, if you want your kids to grow up to be responsible, respectful, and empathetic human beings, it’s time to put your actions where your mouth is (or something like that).
Being a shining example is all about living the values and principles you preach to your kids. It’s not just about telling them how to be good people; it’s about showing them through your own actions. Here are some tips on how to master this vital aspect of positive parenting:
Walk the talk
If you’ve been telling your kids to be polite, then be a polite role model. Saying “please” and “thank you” is not just for kids; it’s for everyone, including us parents. So, when the barista gets your coffee order right, be sure to express your gratitude. Your kids will pick up on this and learn the importance of courtesy.
Treat everyone with respect, regardless of their age, gender, race, background, or occupation. Children notice how you interact with people, and they’ll learn from your example. Show kindness and respect in your daily interactions, and they’ll do the same.
Nobody’s perfect (and as my kids would be happy to tell you, I’m a perfect example!). It’s essential to let your children see you make mistakes. Instead of trying to hide them or shift the blame, acknowledge your errors and demonstrate how to handle them with grace and responsibility. This teaches your kids that making mistakes is a part of life, and it’s how you deal with them that counts.
‘Being a shining example to your kids is more than just teaching them right from wrong; it’s about demonstrating how to navigate life with grace and integrity.’
In passing, mistakes are also a huge learning opportunity. So, encouraging your kids to see mistakes in this light will help them be less afraid of making one and more inclined to experience life to its fullest.
Unplug for family time
In our digital age, it’s easy for parents and children alike to become glued to screens. Show your kids that quality family time matters by setting aside devices during family activities. Engaging in conversations, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company will send a powerful message about the importance of real-world connections.
Be empathetic in your interactions with others and talk openly about your feelings. Encourage your children to express their emotions and listen to them with understanding. This teaches them the value of empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence.
Being a shining example to your kids is more than just teaching them right from wrong; it’s about demonstrating how to navigate life with grace and integrity. As you probably already know, parenting is not a sprint (although it does feel like it on some days). Rather, it’s a marathon. Your children might not appreciate all your efforts now, but they’ll surely thank you when they become parents themselves – and that’s when the real fun begins!
Image: Ron Lach – Pexels
The Five Pillars to Positive Parenting – Part 1
The Five Pillars to Positive Parenting – Part 2
The Five Pillars to Positive Parenting – Part 3
The Five Pillars to Positive Parenting – Part 4
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Mona Andrei is an award-winning humour blogger, columnist, and author. In her most recent book, SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood, she shares her challenges and triumphs as a single mother as well as those of other single mothers. You can connect with Mona on Twitter.