Most mornings my wife starts her day by doing Surya Namaskaar. And one day, whilst she was doing it, my son walked closed to her, raised his hand and then bent down to touch his feet. He was imitating the actions with the count too. That’s the power of being a role model in a child’s life.
Like it’s said – Monkey See – Monkey Do. Often as parents you are surprised and you feel proud when children imitate your actions, but how about, expressing feelings and regulating their emotions? It’s no surprise that your children are learning that too by imitating you.
I am sharing four key things that are crucial for children to model from parents because no conventional education system imparts these values and character.
- Kiss and hug your spouse in front of your kids. When I say kiss, it means a little peck on the cheeks that comes from a space of love and respect. This kind of kiss is different from a smooch.
The reason I am clarifying is that I have had parents ask me before, ‘isn’t that too much for a child to see’.
The only institution where children learn about relationship is YOU.Rishi
So if you both are having an argument in front of the children, then show them how you resolve it. Show them the power of forgiveness in a relationship.
Allow your child to see the gleam in your eyes when you see each other after a day of work. Wouldn’t it be lovely for children to see and learn from their parents supporting one another with household chores and decision-making?
Remember that your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like. So it’s your responsibility to set a great example.
2. Taking full responsibility for your actions. When a child makes a mistake, the instant response is to correct, advise or punish him. Whereas when a parent makes a mistake, you give hundreds of excuses of why it happened. Do you often say things like,
‘Every time I keep the keys at the right place, only today I missed it some where and it only happened because……’
‘I missed collecting the milk on the way, I forgot as I was…….’
When as a parent you demonstrate taking 100% responsibility for your actions, your children will eventually learn it too. I see that in many families today especially between a parent and a child, the most common reason for stress is the blame game that they play with each other.
No one in the family wants to take 100% responsibility for their actions and decisions.
Practice saying sorry when something goes wrong or if you have said something hurtful, rather than displaying a parent or an adult ego.
This practice also helps children to learn to be forgiving, humble and empathetic.
3. Treating people and personal relationships respectfully. Parents tell their children to treat guests and other relatives with warmth and respect yet they often make critical comments behind their back.
One afternoon when I was studying in 11th grade, my close friend came over to my desk and he sounded extremely irritated and angry. I asked him what happened and he said,
“My uncle and aunt have come over to stay with us for a couple of days and before they had arrived, my mother wasn’t happy about their visit. And she has never really been fond of them. And gradually, I started to hate them too.
And this time, I didn’t spend time with them. I was in my room most of the time. And to my surprise, after they left, both my parents scolded me for being so disrespectful to the guests. I don’t understand why don’t my parents give an excuse or avoid their calls so they don’t come over”.
And I got reminded of this story during one of my parenting workshop when I wanted to share a real life example with other parents of why it’s important to be a good role model in treating people and personal relationships respectfully.
4. Being a healthy example of using screens. A father spends his evenings watching television, but tells his 14-year-old daughter she should read more.
Parents often give all the excuses to children for using screens. Do you say something like –
‘I have had a tiring day, I need to watch some comedy or news.
I haven’t watched Facebook since morning.
I really have to reply to this text or mail, it’s very important’
But the moment your child gives you an excuse or a reason to use the screen, you suggest that it’s a waste of time and you remind them of more important tasks at hand like their homework, their project, upcoming revision tests, etc.
Does it sound like being a healthy role model for your children?
In today’s world where technology has become a replacement for people to find joy, entertainment, connection, happiness, you tend to use it more and more in spite of being cautious and doing everything it takes to stay disciplined.
But all practices, methods, and promises fail after few days, few hours, and for many people even after few minutes, And that’s because you are extremely dependent on screens to fulfill you emotionally.
Robert Fulghum beautifully quotes – “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you”. And this strong reason is enough to remind you again of why it’s important for you as a parent to be a great example for your children.
I hope you enjoyed reading till the end. Thank you!
And I would love to read in the comments below any thoughts you’d like to share or any reflections that you might have had while reading the post.