Becoming a parent is like putting yourself in front a giant mirror and seeing yourself in miniature form. Your children mirror your behaviours, mannerisms and more often than not, children take your word as gospel. So perhaps it’s time to take a look in that mirror. Here are five habits that I believe all parents should develop to give their children the best in life.
How you speak to your children and others is important. Your tone, your body language and your words are taken in by your child and seen as ‘the norm’. Think about how you expect others to speak to your child and ask yourself do you hold yourself to that same expectation. Are your words kind or angry? Do you speak to your child or at them? Children repeat most things you say and it can be quite confronting when you hear your own words repeated to others outside the home. Children are like a sponge and the words you choose stay with them – often for the rest of their lives. A good measure is to ask yourself if you would speak to your child in front of complete strangers in the same way as you do at home. That goes for your partner too if you have one.
Own Your Crap
Ah that old accountability shiz. Yes if you can’t own your own crap then how do you expect your children to? If you stuff up – even with your children – admit it, own it and rectify it. When you do this it teaches your kids to own their own crap, and that it is OK for them to admit when they stuff up and do what they can to fix it. Don’t be seen by your children to always be blaming someone or something else when things don’t go your way. Teach them to ask themselves what they can do to change things. Your children will admire you and be proud of you when they see you being honest with yourself and others.
Clean Up After Yourself
Seriously this is what eats away at so many relationships – people who can’t or won’t clean up their own mess. If you make a mess, then it’s up to you to clean it – unless of course you are paying someone to do it for you. When your kids see you cleaning up after yourself they know you are not asking something unreasonable when asked to do the same. It also makes children more self sufficient and self motivated as an adult. More importantly though, when you clean up after yourself you are teaching your children that your partner is not your own personal slave.
Live Within Your Means
Spending money you don’t have, to get the things you think you need, simply teaches children that debt is OK. Teaching our children to save for what they want is only possible if we ourselves save rather than go into debt. Managing your money properly also shows your children that not everything is free and that sometimes they have to be patient and work towards a goal. Living within your means also teaches children that life isn’t about stuff – it’s about relationships and experiences and luckily both of those things are in abundant supply for free.
If you want to raise children who treat everyone equally then you need to promote diversity, equity and cultural differences. You wouldn’t want your child negatively impacted based on how they are born or where they are born, so it is only logical to encourage them to accept others and to embrace all that diversity offers.
Of course there are many other habits that mindful parents have but the five I have written about are a great start. Also – it’s never too late to change a behaviour when you know it will not only benefit your child – but yourself too.