Parenting is more about modeling than anything else. It’s a really scary thought for most parents that the values, core beliefs, and more come from our children watching what we model and copying us! There may be a handful of parents who are relaxed about this having a clean conscience about their language, their attitudes, their manners and other behaviors. But for many this can be a very heavy thought. Especially if you consider all the possible areas our children are subconsciously absorbing values that we didn’t intend to pass on to them.
When my children were little, I will admit that I tried to influence them into liking the Minnesota Vikings and my wife tried to get them to sway toward the chiefs. But there are so many other areas that are not as easy of topics or values that we will model for our kids through our behaviors that will come out in many ways that they will pick up on. For example, what attitudes do we model? When something is hard do we give up? When our football team wins how do we handle winning? If they lose how do we handle that? What about our regular attendance at church? Our Bible reading or prayer?
How do we handle our feelings? When I’m sad, do I do we turn to the ice cream in the freezer and then wonder why kids obesity is on the rise? When I’m angry, do I put others down or criticize or resort to sarcasm? What do I do when my self-esteem is low? Do I go shopping or give up and withdraw?
When someone has upset me do I speak rationally to the person concerned or do I bottle up my feelings or explode? Do they see you resolving conflict well? Do they know you’ve made up with your spouse after a fight and do they learn how you resolved things?
If you’re feeling a bit sick by now, keep reading as it gets better.
If I want my children to develop good social skills, how am I modeling that? Do we all eat together at the table having conversations? Do they see me with my friends? Do they hear me talking positively about friends and family or do they hear a list of complaints? How you talk about your parents is how they’ll talk about you in adulthood!
What about lifestyle? We all know how important it is to encourage our children to eat well and take exercise and get enough sleep, but what do they see us doing in these areas? Is your breakfast a cup of strong coffee and do they hear that you were up half the night? Do you exercise with your kids or on your own where they don’t see it?
I have not arrived myself and this post comes from being as large of a challenge for me as it is for some of you, but it is one I must work on. Our families depend on it.
Will you join me? What are some ways you will change what you are modeling?