Wednesday, 10 August 2016

PARENTING LESSON #4 ~ Walk Your Talk

PARENTING LESSON #4 ~ Walk Your Talk - be a role model for your children

SAY WHAT YOU MEAN

When our kids were little I was forever getting told off by my husband for exaggerating my dire threats. I suppose telling your recalcitrant child that you're going to strangle them or lock them in their bedroom and feed them Vegemite crackers under the door for a week, is a little over the top in hindsight. At the time I felt I was justifiably provoked into coming up with these graphic descriptions of possible punishments.


Now I look back I can see that I was probably a little bit excessive - and my dire warnings of their imminent demise were fairly pointless in achieving the "stop and take notice" effect I was trying to achieve. Fortunately I had less morbid alternatives to fall back on and time-out was usually for several minutes rather than several days (although the thought of the peace and quiet of a week's time out was rather tempting at times!)

MEAN WHAT YOU SAY

On the other hand, when the really important stuff was happening, my husband and I were very focused on being good role models for our children. There was no point expecting them not to smoke, or swear, or swig juice from the carton, or say mean things to others, if we didn't behave that way too. There were times when we would fall down in an area and maybe not be as great an example as we would have liked, but our intentions were always good.

If you don't walk your talk and practice what you preach then how can you expect your children to make good choices? Some will manage to find their own way, but it's so much easier if we set a standard and teach them to live up to it. It also helps to explain why you want that sort of behaviour and the reason why it is the right thing to do. Kids have to learn that they won't always come out on top, or be the best and that's okay - it's about developing strong core values that help them through the ups and downs of life.

Walk your talk. Practice what you preach. Take the high road. Forgive and let go. Enjoy and appreciate life. Love with all of your being.

LIE DETECTORS

Children have very highly developed radars when it comes to detecting their parents' frailties. They always see the moment when we are telling them to behave in a certain way and when we go in the opposite direction. They seem to gain great delight in catching us in our own moments of inglorious behaviour, so it's best to aim to keep those slip ups to a minimum (or at least hope you don't have an audience when they happen).

We don't have the right to expect our kids to behave in ways that we choose to ignore. If we want them to do the right thing, behave in a considerate manner, react in a non-aggressive way, and generally be decent human beings, then it's our responsibility to show them how to do that. If we need to lift our game to achieve those goals then so be it. Maybe parenthood can make us better people as we try to turn our children into good citizens of the world.

NOBODY'S PERFECT

We all know the old adage that nobody's perfect and we are always going to fail at times to be the parents our children deserve. But if we have the right heart and the right motives, then the occasional over-the-top threat of Vegemite under the door will probably bounce right off them because they know that their mother is only human. They might even realize that they've pushed one button too many and it's time to back off a bit before she gets to the point of buttering the crackers in anticipation of their week away in time out!

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PARENTING LESSON #4 ~ Walk Your Talk - be a role model for your children

23 comments:

  1. If more parents did that, kids would certainly be easier to raise, that's what I think!
    Carol
    r

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    1. me too Carol - they'd have less to UN-learn :)

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  2. Oh my goodness I want to print this out and pass it out to everyone I see. In the neighborhood, at school, out in the wilds of Austin :-)
    Parenting is so simple – – if you simply follow everything you have here.

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    1. Thanks Carla - kids learn by example so we are their most important influences and we need to take responsibility for that.

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  3. More than once, I've changed my behavior in order to model something better. Kids can sense and be really confused by hypocrisy. Your points also remind me that some people parent with a "don't do as I do/did," attitude as much as a "do."

    I really like posts like this that reflect on the "why" of our behavior, because so many come from the very good things we want for our kids. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Susan - I think kids view things in a very black and white fashion - so if we want them to behave in a certain way, we have to step up and show them how.

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  4. Eep. So guilty of this. I was always way over the top with my possible punishments. I always figured if it was beyond the scope of possibility, like knocking them into next year, it would be taken for the nonsense it was. Can I have a do-over?

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    1. If you get a do-over Diane I'd better come with you - my kids are probably still scarred mentally from my vivid possible punishments :)

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  5. Hi Leanne,
    1. Cool graphic!
    2. Reminds me of a Seuss quote: I meant what I said, and I said what I meant.
    Janice

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    1. Thanks Janice - yes it fits in very well with the simple truths that Seuss was known for.

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  6. This is the perfect advice! Say what you mean and follow through, always and you will have a much easier time raising your children!

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    1. It has to be the case doesn't it Doreen - and a lot less explaining why they have to behave and you don't.

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  7. It is very hard to follow through sometimes with children but in the long run it will benefit them. Surprisingly, I am finding it easier to do this with the grandchildren than when I was a young mum.

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    1. I think we have a better understanding of ourselves and less pressure on us as we hit midlife Sue - and we only have to do it for short periods of time with grandchildren - which is always easier :)

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  8. Wise advice my good friend! Those little people do mimic actions more than words.

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    1. they do indeed Molly - scary sometimes how accurately they reflect us!

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  9. So true. Idle threats are meaningless and my proudest - and most productive - parenting moment was when I actually followed through on one of those threats. It sent a huge message and made my kids finally listen to me!

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    1. Idle threats were often my specialty Lois - but when the rubber hit the road they knew there would be consequences and that (like you following through) is when it really counts.

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  10. Oh yes, oh yes. Parenting a teen is truly a big fat lie detector test, because not only do they see your behavior they are more than happy to tell you about it too!

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    1. They do love to catch us out don't they Rosie? I had to eat my words a few times when a teenage child pointed out where I'd fallen down :)

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  11. Yes, I agree. We all fail at this on occasion, but it is important to try to set a good example and say things you can follow through on.

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    1. It's all we can do as parents to be consistent and to lead by example isn't it? :)

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  12. I just about lost it with my husband tonight when our 3-yr-old wasn't putting away some craft materials that were strewn about the floor. He said if she didn't pick them up right then, he would and if he had to pick them up, she'd never get to use them again. Ahhhhhhh, no! Don't say that! That's punishing ME because how in the world will we survive the days without these items? So glad you joined us for #FridayFrivolity!

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