Whether we’re aware of it or not, our children look up to us and seek our praise. It’s only natural that in that yearning, they’ll begin to mimic us in the hopes that if they are like us, we will give them our approval. As parents, we have a very special responsibility to make sure that we are modeling the goodness that we wish to see in them. It’s become almost second nature for some of us to let a bad word slip when someone cuts us off on the highway. Criticism easily flows out of our mouths when we’re on the phone or talking to our spouse while preparing dinner. We’re often not being mindful of the little ears just around the corner – if we are, we assume they don’t understand. They do. They soak up our actions and words like little sponges. Let’s all make a promise to try to be better role models for our children starting with small changes every day.
One way we can try to be better role models, is by saving unhealthy habits until after their bed time or giving it up completely. One day, our kids will grow up and be asked to attend parties where alcohol may be present. We may not be there to hold their hands and guide them in the right decoration, but if we show them that you don’t need alcohol to have fun when you’re an adult, the lesson may stick. The same goes for anything that may harm them – cigarettes, junk food, etc. It’s up to us to show them that life is more enjoyable without the intake of substances that are just not good for us.
It’s unrealistic to believe that some of us will never make a slip of the tongue in front of our children and say something mean, but we can try to be more careful. The only way to accomplish this is to try making the change in our lives even when the little ones are not around. If we don’t, we’ll never break the habit. If we do say something nasty, it’s our duty to apologize and make sure our kiddos know we were wrong. Showing them how to own up to mistakes and genuinely apologize is just as important as teaching them to be kind every day.
These are just two examples of many ways that we can improve our lives for our children. Take the challenge to better yourself so that your kids may mimic your humility, dedication, and most importantly, kindness, instead of bad habits. Not only will you grow to be more and more proud of them – one day, they’ll look at you through grown up eyes and be proud of you too.
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