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Model Behavior: Setting A Good Example To Help Ensure Well-Behaved Kids

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

There’s an old European that notes: “Show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who YOU are”. Basically, it implies that the company you choose (for the most part, because we all “do” go through different phases) are primarily a representation of who you (intrinsically) are or who you would like to be. So, if our friends can have that much influence on us, imagine the influence they have on our kids. Now imagine how much of an impact YOU and your behavior can have on your children. Pretty “scary” isn’t it? Not really. Not if you’re confident that your actions are sending exactly (or at least close to) the traits, characteristics, responses you are proud of and would be proud to pass along to your offspring.

According to experts, while children, “do” learn via what they are told, and taught, most children get most of their “adult education” via observation. Most often, they are inclined to imitate those love, respect, identify and associate with and those who they are around most often. In fact, professionals point out that your choices, actions and reactions validates theirs. If you speak to your partner disrespectfully, it not only gives them license to repeat such behavior in their adult life and relationships, but also to speak to YOU (and others) disrespectfully. If you preach that stealing is wrong, but proceed to abscond with the hotel towels as a “rightful” souvenir, your non-verbal message is frequently louder than your spoken one, and you are teaching your child that despite what you “say”, stealing (at least in certain instances) is okay. If you drink, be it daily, or on “special” occasions, you are defining for your child “appropriate” adult behavior, and what he or she perceives to “need” to have a good time. And, folks, the same holds true for other dangerous and destructive habits such as excessive or lack of eating, smoking, work ethic, etc.

If you have “issues with your child (children) or are seeing behaviors and traits you are uncomfortable with, refrain from “blaming” you child. According to experts, the issues you have are with yourself (remember, your child is a mirror image of YOU), and that’s where you should be putting the blame and the need for improvement. And, keep in mind, you can’t expect your child to improve, change, or rise above if you don’t. After all, if the desired and requested change is not good enough for YOU, why should it be good enough for him or her?

Growing In The Right Direction: Experts suggest taking note as to your child’s response and actions to certain life situations and monitoring his or her behavior. Then they assert it’s imperative to take note of your own behavior in similar situations. If you begin to see certain similarities and characteristics, develop a plan to help your child establish better behavior patterns by altering sticking to your plan of action to improve on his or her behalf. They suggest living by the following rules

· Don’t lecture: Instead discuss areas of needed improvement and how and why change would be beneficial. Keep an open mind to face reality and accept criticism and be ready and willing to be the first to “sacrifice” and set the example. If what you are currently doing is not working or not yielding the results you want, don’t be afraid to try something new.

· Exhibit understanding and patience: Don’t expect and about face overnight. You and your family developed these “bad” habits over time. Give yourselves time to not only adjust to a new lifestyle, but also have it become a part of you.

· Repeat Yourself: Remember that practice makes perfect. If there’s a behavior (of yours) that you want to change so that you can set a better example for your child or children, remember to “practice” it. If you don’t like reading, force yourself to pick up a book. Start small and read one paragraph or page at a time. If you are easily frustrated, put yourself in situations that will require patience and decorum. The more you expose yourself and achieve your goal, the quicker it will become a part of your “nature”.

As you move closer you your own personal objective, keep a mental (or actual) log of how this is or has affected your child or children’s behaviors. Professionals point out that the best way to control your child’s behavior is by being a “controlling” parent, or rather a parent in control of your own actions, behaviors etc., and they note, you’ll be surprised at just how much they’ll “pick up” (from you).

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Model Behavior: Setting A Good Example To Help Ensure Well-Behaved Kids

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