One of the most challenging aspects about parenting is being a great role model to your children. They are always watching and imitating, and trust me, they see everything, even the stuff you think they don’t see. Their job is to learn and the most effective way to learn is to mimic.
Whether you think of yourself as a role model or not, you are a role model. To be the best role model you can, activate your self-awareness. That will help you to avoid sending mixed messages like saying “respect other people” and then judging someone about their weight or their job.
Often - because we’re stressed and under pressure - parents will shout, become irritable, lay blame, blow our tops and overreact. This is exactly what is taught to the kids!
It’s OKAY for your kids to see you as human, someone who makes poor choices sometimes - still the most wonderful thing you can role model is healthy stress management, right there in front of the kids.
- OWN your reaction to a situation. It’s one thing to blow up and then later (in your embarrassment) ignore it and move on - it’s another to blow up and then later, when things are calmer, explain to the kids why you lost your cool and what you could have done better. Being able to say “I’m sorry, I messed up” is better than teaching the kids that they can get away with bad behavior!
- Teach your kids, by example, to count to 10 before responding. If you don’t count to 10 you run the danger of reacting blindly, but if you count to 10 you give yourself a chance to get yourself under control and avoid saying or doing something you’ll later regret.
- Teach your kids healthy ways to release stress including meditation and exercise. Even small kids can meditate for a few minutes and everybody can run around to blow off steam when they’re upset.
- Teach yourself that when you speak, you ask yourself first, “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”
These 4 tips will help you be a better role model to your kids, and will make parenting easier!