It is one of my all-time favourite parenting quotes. I don’t even know who said it. It’s just one of those things that does the rounds on social media.
‘Imagine who you want your kids to become. Be that’
It is simple.
It perfectly sums up the process of becoming a good parent.
You want the best for your child? Then you need to BE the best for your child.
You want them to be happy? To be honest? To be patient? To eat their vegetables?
Then you need to smile, tell the truth, breathe deeply, and eat your greens.
Any parent who has cringed when their 2YO drops the f-bomb – at great-grandma’s house – will know that children are like sponges. They are ready to absorb all your good habits as well as all your bad ones!
So here are five ways to start setting a good example to your children:
1. Take care of yourself
It is common for parents to put themselves and their own health on the backburner. But it is important to make sure you’re at your best in order to be the best parent you can be. It is also important to show your children what ‘healthy living’ looks like. You can tell them how to live a healthy life but your message will be received more clearly if you model the behaviour yourself. Simple things like going on walks, eating healthier meals, and quitting smoking will go a long way in the eyes of your child.
2. Show self-confidence
It is very easy to look in the mirror and think “ugh, I look awful” but it is better not to say these things out loud, especially if you’re a mother to a girl. A mother is a girl’s first role model and young girls are particularly impressionable. Ban words like ‘diet’. Teach her to be comfortable in her own body. Teach her that she’s beautiful inside and out. Of course, tell yourself this too! Start believing it.
3. Show respect for others
A parent who expects their child to say ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ but then ignores the check-out operator and is rude to the waiter, isn’t going to get the message across. Teach your children to use their manners and remember to use them yourself. Be charitable. Be patient. Show compassion. Say kind things about people – especially behind their backs.
4. Be honest and consistent
Have you heard stories of parents trying to pass off their 4YO as a 3YO to avoid paying an entry free? What usually happens is the proud 4YO calls them out. “No mummy! I’m four! Remember?”. Awkward. Sometimes it is tempting to tell little lies but remember little ears are usually listening. Show your child that honesty really is the best policy – always, not just when it is convenient.
5. Admit your mistakes
Truth is though, we aren’t perfect people. We can do our best but we will always slip up occasionally. It is important to admit to your mistakes, and take responsibility for their consequences. Tell your children, ‘yes, I shouldn’t have done that!’ and let them know that you’re sorry when things go wrong. This will help them take responsibility for their decisions and the consequences – good or bad – as they grown into adults.
This blog post is sponsored by InsuranceLine.
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