Leading by Example: The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children

· September 28, 2017

Children, when they’re little, are innocent beings who rarely question what their parents say or do. For them, whatever their role model does is the example they should follow. That’s why they will begin imitating them.

Many times parents criticize the behavior of their youngsters in a very negative way. They don’t give their children the right to make mistakes. The judgments passed upon them end up being a hard blow to their self-esteem.

The thing is we don’t always practice what we preach, and children don’t take long to notice this fact. It makes no sense for us to tell children to not be untidy, to not lie and not raise their voice if we are always the first ones to behave this way. A thousand words and verbal lessons are useless if the example that you give isn’t coherent.

Parents should realize that they are the mirrors in which children see their own reflection. We are their guides and their points of reference. If we are wrong on an emotional level, our emotions will also become theirs. Our behaviors will be projected in theirs. Therefore, as adults, although it is obvious that we have the right to fail, it’s recommendable that we put in the effort to increase our levels of self-control and discipline. Specially in front of our children.
father and son playing on the beach

Some good examples to give our children

Teach them to tell the truth

We tend to think that by scolding our children when they lie, that’s the whole job. But, that’s not quite true. Children imitate their progenitors, and let’s be honest: How many times do you think they have caught you telling a lie, even a little white lie? Many times we even lie directly to them, and they end up noticing this fact. Therefore, the message we transmit is that lying is normal and even good people do it, since even their parents do it.

It makes no sense that we pretend that our kid won’t become a liar if we’re the first ones who don’t practice sincerity.

Teach them to listen

You know that you’ve struggled an endless number of times to make your child slow down and listen to you. Yet, how many times do you listen to them? How many times have they tried to tell you something that happened to them at school? Or they have wanted to sing you their favorite song and you haven’t listened to them?

It’s impossible to want your kids to listen to you at times, but, when you’re busy, you don’t listen to them. The ideal thing would be that if you can’t stop for a moment to attend to them, to tell them- sincerely- that you can’t right at this moment, but surely in a little while you’d love to hear what they have to say.

Teach them to speak in a low soft voice

How many times have we told our children to not scream while we scream even louder!? If we want them to speak softly and in a pleasant way, we have to teach them how to do so with our own example. It’s true that at times patience reaches its limits. But, as adults and parents, we have to put in the effort to be rational and not let our emotions take over. If we do this frequently, our children will end up learning to do the same.

little girl being quiet

Teach them to respect the rules

Do you drive over 120 kilometers per hour on the highway? Do you double park every once in a while? How about stealing the pens from you office? If so, you’re not teaching your children to respect the rules since you’re the first to break them. This way, it will be much harder for you to make them follow the rules at home. They won’t understand why you can break them but they cannot.

Teach them to practice productive hobbies

If you want your kids to read, you have to read. If you don’t want them to be so glued to the television or to a smartphone, you should attempt to distance yourself from this devices as well at certain points throughout the day. Your hobbies have a very high chance of becoming their hobbies. Thus, if the ones you currently practice aren’t the most beneficial, maybe it’s a good time to change them. Make sure your children can see you doing other things. It will be worthwhile for both of you.

Teach them to be tolerant towards frustration

This is a very important point. If you’re the type of parent that drowns in a glass of water, your children will unavoidably do the same. It’s of vital importance that you help you kids tolerate the ups and downs of life, their own mistakes as well as external errors and, ultimately, the adversities and disagreements of life. It’s not about repeating it to them, nor about being rigid with your children. Instead, it’s about letting them see your integrity and how you are capable of seeking solutions, accepting the things you cannot change and staying emotionally stable.

upset girl being carried by father

These are only some of the examples you can teach your children, but they’re endless. The key is to never forget that we are their main role model to follow, at least until adolescence. Therefore, almost everything we do will be repeated by them. Think about what you don’t like about yourself and start changing it, both for your own well-being a well as that of your children.