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Setting a Good Example

Father-Son ReadingThere are three major steps you must take to give your child the best preparation any situation life brings.

    1. Set a good example
    2. Set a good example
    3. …Can you guess the third.

    .

In my nanny-capaids, I spent quite some time at the playground, babysitting yet another adorable little kid. At the playground, I’ve seen it all: the monkey bar accidents, kids fighting over toys, and even certain sandbox incidents that we all wish to forget. However, none of these can compare to hearing children shout curse words in the middle of the playground at each other, or even at their parents. When I saw this inappropriate behavior take place, my first thought was, how are these six year old kids, who just recently began developing their vocabulary, able to navigate through quite an impressive number of curse words with such ease?

Although not all of us are willing to admit this, most of us have experienced a moment of weakness, during which a bad word would slip out, letting everyone around us know we are having a rough day. And sometimes that moment occurs when kids are around. As a parent we want to teach our children the difference between good and bad.  We show them cartoons and read them books that let them see the outcomes of bad and good behaviors.  However, one scenario we are dismissing is the way we act in front of our kids, which plays an even bigger role than exposure to inappropriate television shows and movies. When confronting a parent about their child’s bad behavior or their inappropriate language slurs, their timely response is: “They must have heard it on TV or from a friend” when in fact, the majority of the time they heard it first from their parents. Haven’t we all seen “The Christmas Story”?

This is a “monkey see, monkey do” situation.

Setting a good example for your children is possibly the most simple and effective way for you to earn their respect and teach them the art of earning respect from others. The hypocrisy of parents towards their children is overwhelmingly prevalent and so detrimental, as it translates onto your child’s future. If your words say one thing, but your actions say something else you will confuse your children and they will catch on to this behavior. The more confused they get, the less they trust your judgment and respect you as a parent. If you doubt the importance of setting an example, try to remember your own childhood. Who were you most influenced by? Chances are the answer is your parents and those who were close. For twenty-one years I have not heard either of my parents say a curse word. However, they were guilty of committing a few other mistakes which I believe are very common among parents. Let’s take a look at some of these commonalities, and discuss what we can do differently.

Don’t want your child to get consumed by technology all day? Don’t let yourself get consumed! Sitting on the phone or tablet while spending time with your child or even worse, during a performance of theirs will not only upset him/her but will also result in them mimicking your behavior. Eventually when you ask them to put their gadgets away, they will begin to completely dismiss your requests. Same goes for reading, working, and being productive. Seeing you enjoy a book outside or in the waiting room or just about anywhere will inspire your kids to do the same. Your relaxing time with a book and reading time for your child can be done together. Call it “relaxing time” for the both of you. If you are a parent who must use technology for work, or read on a tablet, then give your child reading software with books that they will enjoy and from which they will learn. Both of you get some QUIET time (which I know all parents appreciate). You can also apply the “monkey see, monkey do” theory to eating healthy. If your child can not have the chocolate or candy, neither can you! You are your child’s biggest hero, and they are eager to imitate you, so don’t take it out on them when they are following in your footsteps.

Want your kids to admit their mistakes? Then you must admit yours. If you want your child to take responsibility for their actions you must do the same. Because you are the adult in this situation, you must admit your wrong doing, even to a 4 year old. The more you admit to your mistakes, the more comfortable your child will be to admit theirs. This discourages them from lying to you when they do something wrong and encourages them take responsibility for their actions in the future.

Yelling and the way you process anger as a parent might have the most lasting effect on your child. Typically, parents have  “no hitting”, “no tantrum”, “no screaming”, and “think before you act” policies that they want their children to oblige by, however sometimes forget to themselves. How do you expect your child to calmly process emotion when you can’t? Maybe it is someone who cut you off on the

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