We all had role models as a child, for better or worse (Think Superman vs.. Hugh Hefner). It doesn’t matter what celebrities or superheroes your children look up to, because they also look up to you. You are a role model for your child whether you want to be or not. How you act, react, and speak are all being analyzed by open little eyes. The good news is that being a role model is easy. Just do what you want your child to do.
Your Children Will Copy You
When you got up this morning and didn’t brush your teeth your kid noticed. When you were short with your wife because she had asked you for the 50th time to take out the trash your kid noticed. When you thanked the grocery store employee at the register your kid noticed that too.
Although the way your child listens to you will change throughout their developmental stages, the fact that they do look and listen to what you do does not. They will learn and they will copy you. Eventually kids will put all of these things that you’ve done and said together into their opinion of you. They may even pick up some of your more undesirable traits as personal habits.
What Is Your Child Learning From You Now?
Curse words are a drop in the bucket of what children learn from you. They will notice things that you’re not even aware of! Everything from how you speak differently depending on whether you’re addressing a man or a woman to how you speak when addressing people of different ethnic backgrounds. They will notice how much respect is in your tone with everyone you interact with. So the next time you say “s***” or “f***” don’t worry so much that you said it as who you said it to or about.
On top of that they will notice your body language. Are you apprehensive, impatient or even aggressive when you speak with someone of a different race? Try being more mindful of how you speak or act when you are speaking to someone, you might be surprised. Yes it is important to be polite, but are you faking your politeness? Are you being passive aggressive? Your child may not know these terms, but they know when someone is being insincere.
Being A Role Model is Easy!
Just act like you want your kid to act and say the things you want your kid to say. Especially when they are younger they will pick up these cues from you. Of course having a workable and non-violent discipline process is also important. Acting like you want your kids to act isn’t just a one-time thing either. You can’t stage a respectful conversation with someone of a different race and force your kid to watch. You have to make the behavior you want your child to adopt your own behavior, constantly.
Of course you will have to constantly monitor yourself, but analyzing and changing things within yourself is a thousand times easier than forcing the changes in someone else.
(Yes I’m a Geek)
X Shown = X Taught
Where X = Respect: Respect Shown = Respect Taught
Where X = Hate: Hate Shown = Hate Taught
What do you teach your child?
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