How to set an example for your children: 6 useful tips
Strategies and guidelines on how to set an example for your children from a consistent role as a parent.
Parents are the main reference for children, especially when they are very young. They learn how to behave in the world from their parents, whose behavior they never question at any time.
Children learn everything from their parents, both the good and the bad. If parents respect rules, have a healthy lifestyle and interact respectfully with others, children will learn to do the same. On the other hand, if adults do the opposite, their children will learn to do the same.
Knowing how to set an example for children is complicated.. It is not always the right thing to do because parents, no matter how adult they may be, are still human beings who can make mistakes. Fortunately, you can be careful and do everything possible to be a good example for the little ones, which is what we are going to talk about next.
The importance of giving example before the small ones of the house
The German physicist Albert Einstein, probably the most iconic scientist of the history, said "to educate with the example is not a way of educating, it is the only one". Children learn by imitation, and the first people they copy in their actions, attitudes and comments are parents and other family members. Example is one of the best tools parents have to educate their children..
Although we may not realize it, every parent sets an example for his or her children every day with everything he or she does. Young children are innocent beings, who rarely question what they see their parents do and say and, for them, their reference figures always do the right thing, whatever it may be. Every action parents take, no matter how small, has a great impact on their children, especially in the way they organize reality and in their approach to others and their surroundings.
Bearing this in mind, before reprimanding our son or daughter, we should reflect and understand that it is quite likely that their behavior is due to our mistake. Children learn both the good and the bad from us. and it is ironic that, by scolding them, we may be reprimanding them for something they have seen us do on more than one occasion.
We don't always agree with what we preach and, no matter how young they are, children eventually catch on. It makes little sense for us to tell them not to lie, swear, tidy their room and not to shout when we break these rules. Practice beats theory, and a thousand words are useless if our example is not consistent with them.
Therefore, as responsible, mature and self-controlled adults, we must watch our actions and be aware of when we do wrong. We have the right to fail, for to err is human, but to rectify is wise. If we make a mistake, we should tell our child, explaining that we did wrong and that he should not imitate this behavior.that sometimes adults make mistakes.
How to set an example to children: education strategies.
There are many ways to set an example to children. Any action that is correct, ethically appropriate and respectful with others and with the rules are good examples to educate children. We could give an almost infinite list of all kinds of actions that will help us to make children learn values and become future good and respectful adults, but we can highlight the following:
1. Tell the truth
Many parents truly believe that scolding their children when they lie is the best way to teach them not to commit this transgression. Telling lies is considered unethical in most cultures. About three-quarters of parents say they teach their children that lying is wrong, but virtually all admit that they do not always tell their children the truth.
It makes no sense for us to pretend that our children do not lie if we ourselves are the first to be untruthful with them. When they realize that we have lied to them, they will end up seeing lying as something normal and, considering how they idolize their parents when they are very young, they will think that lying is a good thing to do. and, taking into account how they idolize their parents when they are very young, they will think that lying is something proper of good people.
By lying to them we lose the opportunity to educate certain values. For example, when we are in a supermarket and he throws a tantrum that he wants us to buy him a candy, instead of lying saying "I have no money" we can tell him "there are many things I would like to buy, but I don't do it because I can save so we can all go on vacation".
While praise is fine and encouraging our children is something that will help their self-esteem and psychological well-being, we can't lie to them about their abilities.. By saying they are better than they really are we miss the opportunity to teach them the value of modesty and to understand that everyone has their strengths but also their weaknesses.
2. Teach them to listen by listening to them
Many parents do everything they can to make their children listen to them and, when they see that there is no way, they end up complaining and saying that their children do not listen to them. However, how many times do adults ignore their children? How many times have our children come to us excited to tell us something and we have answered with a resounding "not now"?
It is difficult to get our children to listen to us if we don't pay attention to them. Although it may be difficult, the ideal is to dedicate a moment to listen to them and tell them that we can't do it right now, but that in a while we will surely do it and we will have all the time they need to tell us what they want to tell us.
Thus, will value our time while seeing that we value their experiences, opinions and whatever they have to tell us.. By listening to our children when we are talking, without ignoring them, we will ensure that when we are the ones talking, they will be interested in what we are telling them.
3. Do not shout
It often happens that on more than one occasion we tell our child not to yell, telling him by shouting as loudly or louder than he does. It is true that patience has a limit, but as parents we must make an effort to keep a cool head and be rational.
Anger is contagious and parents are not immune to it.. If we lose our temper frequently, yelling and screaming, our children will eventually learn that this is a normal way to communicate.
As a tip, if you see that you are getting angry, try to breathe, count to 10 and if nothing works, leave the room until you calm down. It is also important to be able to rest well, because the lack of sleep increases anxiety and reduces patience.
4. Respect the rules
We want our children to follow the rules, but how many times have they seen you double park? And sit in the reserved seats on the bus? Do you steal pens from your office? If so, you are certainly not teaching your children to respect the rules, because you are the first one to transgress them.
These types of infractions may seem harmless, but they actually have the consequence that we are teaching our children that it is okay to break the rules and even the law.. It's going to be very difficult to get your children to follow the rules at home if you don't respect them in the world out there.
5. Make hobbies productive
Many parents complain that their children are lazy and waste time with hobbies that are not very "productive". The truth is that no hobby is unproductive, while entertainment, as long as it is healthy, provides psychological well-being in most cases. The idea that video games, comics or series are useless and uneducated hobbies is so absurd that it is not worth wasting time discussing it.
However, if what we want is for our children to be "productive" and read, play sports or play an instrument, we will have to be the ones who start reading, playing sports or playing an instrument. Our hobbies will most likely end up being their hobbies..
It should also be said that if we do not want our children to be hooked on cell phones, computers and TV, we ourselves should set an example by getting away from these media. They can still be used for entertainment, but restricting the time of their use and, also, avoiding more than two or three hours a day using them.
6. Show tolerance to frustration
This is a fundamental value to teach our children. If you are one of those parents who get overwhelmed at the slightest opportunity, I have bad news for you: your children will also be like that. It is vitally important that you help your children tolerate life's ups and downs, whether it's because of an illness or a bad situation.Whether it's because of your own mistake or someone else's. If they don't learn to manage their emotions, they'll be like that too.
If they do not learn to manage their emotions in the face of adversity and inconveniences, they will be adults who will drown in a glass of water. We set an example by showing how we stand up to adversity and, although we have a hard time, we do not give up, looking for solutions, accepting that there are things that can be changed and others that cannot.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)