Children learn from our actions, and from our words. They also learn things we never realize we are teaching them. Even our behaviors, reactions, and habits teach our children lessons we never intend for them to learn. In the world today, there is entirely too much “Do as I say but not as I do” involved in the raising of our children. Is it really fair to expect our children to become healthy, strong, and compassionate people, if we do not at least make an effort to do the same?
Many things have changed in society; our children are exposed to so many things so much earlier than the previous generations. We as parents must look at the world from their perspective if we are going to teach them how to live better lives. We must also teach those life lessons by example if we want them to benefit from the lessons.
- Be proud of who you are and express that you are happy and content with yourself. Your children will always have a natural feeling of self-confidence and a healthy self-esteem if they grow up within that type of atmosphere.
- Include your values and beliefs as everyday aspects of your life. If your heritage is important to you, share this interest with your children and it will become important to them as well. If you value honesty, make it a factor of how you live, and your children will too.
- Share the successes and the failures of your life with your children in an appropriate manner. If something happened at work that was positive or negative, discuss how it affected you and what could be caused by the event or what you could have done differently. Children understand a great deal more than we give them credit for about many things. They will learn how to deal with difficult situations from our reactions.
- Do not hide sadness or disappointment from your children. They need to see how you deal with emotions in order to learn how to handle their own in a healthy way.
- Allow happiness and excitement to be part of the atmosphere in your home. These emotions will integrate themselves as part of your child’s very personality if they are encouraged by you.
- Live a healthy lifestyle and your children will live that way also. Discourage those around you from exhibiting the types of behaviors that you do not wish your children exposed too. If you do not approve of drugs, smoking cigarettes, and alcohol use, then show your children how you feel about those types of habits by discussing them honestly and openly and by not indulging in them yourself.
- Listen closely and carefully to your children when they talk with you. Sometimes, what they say is not nearly as important as the way they say it, and how we hear it. Your child could be telling you what seems like a trivial story to you, but the event actually had significant meaning for them. Important lessons are hidden everywhere, don’t take a chance and miss any of them.
- Be aware of the world you and your children live in. Knowing what is happening in the world is important for your families’ safety and well-being. Instilling this virtue in your children at a young age will greatly aid them in their lives when they are adults.
- Believe in and practice consideration and compassion for others. Kindness and respect for everyone around us are gifts that we must give if we expect them to be given to us. If we are selfish and rude, then our children will behave the same way to people.
- Express your individuality and independence. Raising your children to think for themselves and stand behind their convictions will only work if you show them that they have the right to do so.