Parenting is the most important and most challenging job in the world. It will be a life where you make mistakes even if you read all the child-rearing books that are available today. Parents learn early on that their child will mimic their words and behaviour. To see your toddler acting like you on a pretend telephone can be cute, funny and embarrassing, but shows that if you want to raise children, to be honest, loving and thoughtful adults, setting them a good example is what you need to do. Here are six good examples you can set for your kids.
Celebrate your partner with dignity and respect
The most important thing a parent can do for their child is to love the child’s other biological parent. Celebrating important dates with new experiences and gifts is a public announcement of how much the couple cherish each other. There is a wedding anniversary gifts by year list to help those unsure what to buy, indicating just how important it is to acknowledge this day.
If the child’s parents live separately, it is vital they continue to demonstrate respect for each other. Even if your relationship is beyond repair and you are treated badly, behave with dignity and remember that the children will eventually realise the truth as they get older.
Avoid emotional reactions
Emotional reactions are natural and can be a quick release of energy, but they also get in the way of making sensible decisions. By reacting calmly in tense situations, you can show a child that it is possible to control their own emotions. If you feel that you are about to explode in anger, walk away until you can get your emotions under control. If you can’t leave, put some music on and dance with your kids and your anger will soon dissipate as you start to have fun.
Explain your decisions
Whether you have a “naughty step” or another timeout system for your child, make sure you always explain why the decision to implement this was made, since it is not always obvious to the child. Explain what the child did to break the rules and how they now have time to calm down and think of better ways to handle similar situations in the future. This shows your respect for your child’s feelings.
Admit your imperfections
For a myriad of reasons, we can find ourselves acting in a way that we would not like our kids to act. This could be as simple as interrupting them when they are talking. Simply apologise and let them continue as you would if they were an adult. No one is perfect, but admitting that being tired or frustrated, bored or anxious has caused your imperfect behaviour can be a good lesson for your child in their own emotional development and understanding.
Parenting has to be the most stressful job in the world. It is therefore important to you are your own ways to manage stress in a healthy way. Going for a walk, practising yoga or meditation or playing a musical instrument may help you feel less stressed. You can explain this to your child and introduce them to these healthy habits so that they can see if the techniques are helpful to them when they start to feel stressed.
From holding the door open to those who are a few steps behind you, to dropping change into a tip jar when out and about will show your child that it is important to consider others before themselves. These friendly gestures, such as letting someone else park in the spot you were hoping for demonstrates your own selflessness. It usually helps to add some words to your actions so that the moment registers with the child in the way you want, just a simple “Please, go right ahead”.