Our children learn from what their parents do. Children want so much to be like their parents that they will do what their parents do rather than what they are told to do. Children are observant and learn how to do things first by watching their parents. So what are you doing that you don’t want your own kids to do?
If you are eating badly, don’t you think that will have an influence on your children? Sure it will.
Everything parents do count. Too many parents have let go of their responsibility to their children. And is that responsibility? Well it is to raise a happy, healthy, and emotionally fit adult that is self-sufficient. If you are self-indulgent, then your child will learn that being self-indulgent is okay. If you smoke, then it is okay for them to do so too.
When I was in the Marine Corps, we were told that part of leadership is to set the example. It is no different being a parent and probably more important. You are their leader. Lead by example, okay? What are some of the ways that will help you to do this?
1. Never argue in front of your children. This includes any arguments you have with your spouse or significant other. Make sure that those arguments are settled by the time your children come home from school. Use rational thinking whenever an argument occurs. This will help to settle things down fast.
2. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same wavelength when punishing or giving any task to your children. Your children will pick up this.
3. Make sure that you have a loving relationship with your spouse or significant other. This is vital for your children. They learn how to have a relationship by observing how yours is going. If it is a destructive relationship, then your children will believe that is what a real relationship is all about and do the same.
4. Give your children chores to do. This will instill in them a sense of worth. Make sure that you also do the things that you should be doing around the house. And do it with a sense of enjoyment. You could even use that time as a way of exercising. Make it fun.
5. Keep yourself healthy and fit. Eat right and do a lot of self-care. Your children will learn that it is important for them to do the same – especially when they become adults.
6. Give all in your household unconditional love. This is vitally important for your children to learn. Too many times parents will only give love conditionally. I’ve seen some parents hold off any hugging to their children unless their child performs a certain way. This is completely wrong. Practice unconditional love all the time.
7. Finally, love yourself. Give yourself unconditional love too. Forgive any mistakes you may have made. Your children will learn the same. Accept yourself unconditionally too. Dr. Albert Ellis refers to this as “unconditional self-acceptance.”
Be a parent to your children. You are not their friend. Your only role is to be a parent. Once they are grown and completely self-sufficient, then and only then can you move from parent to friendship.
I wish you and your children a lot of happiness and health as you move through life and the changes it will bring.
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