Your Child Will Follow Your Example, Not Your Advice

Your Child Will Follow Your Example, Not Your Advice

Last update: 25 July, 2016

The role of parents is one of the most complicated ones you will develop throughout your life since having a child involves extreme happiness and constant effort towards their education and personal growth, among other things. As a parent, you are the greatest influence on your child.

Most children hear what you say, some even do what you say,  but all children do what you do.

In fact, you’ll notice that as you grow, your child will choose to imitate your behavior and may even be aware of behaviors that you never knew you possessed and, from that moment, you will see yourself. Being a parent is to be an example for your child  so they may have enough awareness to shape their own patterns of life.

The decisive years of childhood and adolescence  

Childhood and adolescence bring many challenges for both the life of a child and that of their parents. These are the stages in which a person begins to become part of a family, gets to know its customs and culture, and shapes what may be their future values and principles.

mother and daughter

In addition to the education that comes from parents, there is also that which will come from the friends the child will later get to know in school, their teachers, etc. Your child will pick up from these social circles those behaviors that they see and what they soak up from the examples of others.

Advice must be accompanied by action

Children notice everything. Therefore, everything you say will have to be followed by an action: if, as a parent, you advise them on a certain thing and you do otherwise, they will probably pay more attention to what you do rather than what you say. There will be many times that your child will reprimand you for not practicing what you preach or living by example, which is something that will also help you realize your weaknesses and shortcomings.

“The word convinces, but the example influences. Do not worry  that  your children do not listen, they observe you all day.”

-Mother Teresa of Calcutta-

Thus, consistency is essential in teaching a child: if he understands that what he hears and what he sees is consistent, he will probably begin to shape his personality and psychology from there. Your child admires you and sees your reflection in his own mirror when in doubt.

Some tips for leading by example


We have already said that the education of a child is a very complex task. It’s daunting to realize that you are the focus of their attention and anything you do will pass for their approval. Much of what your children will learn will comes from what you teach them, so these keys may come in handy to guide you in educating them:

  • First, it is essential to take advantage of the daily routine: saying hello, rules for eating at the table, schedules and schoolwork, etc., can serve to reinforce responsible habits in your child’s behavior.
  • Communication is another pillar of the parent-child relationship. Use gestures, expressions or words that will help you get to know your child better and vice versa.
  • Another important point is rules: they must be clear and consistent, and accompanied by explanations. It is good that your child understands that on one hand you love them and on the other hand they have to follow certain rules for behavior. Show them affection, but show that you are serious also.
  • One of the things that may happen when you teach your child by example and not just by giving advice is that you will be wrong. However, do not forget that everyone makes mistakes and you also have a right to do so: your child needs to know that there is a margin for error in life.

If we recognize our mistakes and show the positive side of learning from them, they will understand that from these mistakes will come their life experiences. It often seems complicated, but it is as simple as asking for forgiveness.

“Live in such a way that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.”

-H. Jackson Brown-


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.