Your Children Are Watching. What Example Are You Setting?

Your children are watching. If you want your children to stop doing something, then you have to stop doing that thing, too.

As my family and I traveled through our journey towards a better, more cohesive family, a huge lesson we learned was that how so much of communication is nonverbal; a lesson that became painfully obvious once we started carefully observing our children. We were a bit startled to realize the extent to which they were walking, talking imitations of us — and all of our imperfections!

As we discussed these bad habits our children had developed, it quickly became obvious that our mantra of “a better me for a better we” was more far-reaching than we had originally thought.


Your Children Are Watching

When we speak to our children, we are at least aware that we are communicating and intentionally sending a message. Most of us are much less aware of the powerful and continuous communication going on through our behavior, but social learning theory asserts that most behaviors are learned through observation and modeling.

Actions speak louder than words. Our children are observing what we do and how we do it. When we talk on the phone, talk to a friend, drive our cars while texting, or interact with a random stranger, they are watching us.

We can’t expect our children to be what we are not willing to be ourselves. We must be the change we want to see in our children. Part of that change is the realization that we may be wrong about the way we behave and the way we do things. We must live our lives the way we want our children to live theirs.

Reflect on how you communicate with your spouse or even your parents. Are you showing them the respect you want your children to show you? A parent’s behavior toward his or her spouse and others is a strong indicator for their children as to how they should act toward others.

We must provide our children a stable foundation of our values that teaches them how to function in society and to be comfortable and confident in it. We must go first.

Your children are watching. Click here if you’re ready to be the example you want to see.

Author: Dale W. Vernon
Dale, a business and investment advisor and professed imperfect father of three children, is co-author of How Imperfect Parents Lead Great Families. He is a frequent speaker about the importance of establishing family values, creating a culture of communication in your home and being an intentional parent that understands the importance of being the best example you can for your children.
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