This is so true, but it seems to me that there are a lot of parents out there who don’t understand this and/or who don’t see how their own behavior is so different than what they expect from their kids. I’m certainly not a perfect role model, but at least I am aware of when I occasionally do something that is the opposite of what I am trying to teach my kids. The one example that comes to mind is losing my cool when I am always trying to get them to stay calm and not overreact to various situations. I do talk to my kids about that when it happens and let them know I am aware I have not been setting a good example and at least try to explain why. Then I tell them I will continue trying to improve.
I can think of plenty of other examples that I have witnessed where parents say one thing to their kids and then do the opposite themselves. Lying and being deceitful is a big example in my house. My husband can get extremely upset when one of the kids gets caught telling a lie, yet he lies to me in front of them all the time. He has also taught them how to be deceitful and has asked them to keep secrets from me on several occasions, but he certainly doesn’t like it when someone else does that to him. I’m the one left trying to correct the kids’ behavior when they emulate him. He doesn’t usually offer to help with certain things like setting the table while I am making dinner, but he is quick to get upset with the kids if they don’t. He interrupts and talks over me quite frequently, but he doesn’t like it when the kids or anyone else interrupts him. I laugh to myself when I hear him try to lecture the kids about any of this stuff or other things like how you should treat others with respect and be aware of how your decisions affect those around you, when he certainly needs to improve in those areas. He doesn’t have a lot of clout with the kids anymore because the older two see him as being very hypocritical at this point. They listen to him and think, “Where I have I heard this before? It sounds like all the things Mom is always talking to him about needing to improve.”
I hear and see other parents doing similar things where they end up demonstrating double standards, too. As I have written about before, actions always speak louder than words, and what you demonstrate by example is communicating to your children much more than what you say. There are so many things that we model for our kids on a daily basis, and we need to consciously think about what standards we are setting for them for things like how good of a listener we are, how well we treat people with respect, how well we follow the rules, how much tolerance and patience we have, how empathetic, compassionate, and kind we are, how well we communicate with others, how often we choose to keep in contact with the important people in our lives, how helpful and how honest we are, how we express gratitude, whether we look for opportunities to make the world a better place and also take care of our own needs, how cooperative we are and how willing we are to compromise, how critical we are of others, how humble we are, whether we are willing to admit when we made a mistake and apologize sincerely, how open-minded we are and accepting of people’s differences, whether we take people for granted or show our appreciation, how mindful we are, and what kind of attitude we have about almost anything and anyone. The list goes on and on.
I think the key here is how well you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things from other perspectives. If you can think about how your children, or anyone else really, perceives and interprets how and why you do things, it becomes easier to make conscious decisions about your own attitude and behavior. It really comes down to how mindful you are of your own actions compared to your words. They have to go hand in hand as much as possible or the words become meaningless.
Comments are always welcome! Clicking on the “Home” page tab will allow you to scroll through other posts, or you can select a category or tag word to find similar topics. If you would like to read future posts, please follow the blog or my Facebook page.