You remember that anti drug commercial from back in the 80′s? It was so poignant that they’ve made a modern day version – a funny parody that addresses personal finance. In both commercials is a profound statement that resonates with millions: “I learned it from watching you!” The statement carries more weight than you think.
Although lectures and discussions may benefit your kids slightly, the reality is that your children get most of what they learn from you – their parents. If you want your children to act a certain way or model a certain behavior, you’d darn sure better act that way yourself. “Monkey see, monkey do”… “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”…”Lead by example”… You get the point.
Read on to find out five lessons your relationship could be teaching your kids.
#1: How to Treat Someone With Respect…
The way you speak to or about your spouse is something that your children bare witness to every single day. Husband (or wife) bashing in front of your kids is not cool. Even if some of the things you’re saying are true, the only message they’re getting is that dad (or mom) sucks and that you can’t be trusted. They’ll naturally think, “What if they talk about me like that when I’m not around?”
#2: Gender Roles
As the woman, are you the one who does all of the laundry and cooking? As the man, are you the one that always mows the lawn and takes out the trash? If this is the case, your kids will naturally assume that this is the way it is universally. This information, called tacit knowledge, is all gathered and stored by your child prior to their school years. Want to raise a little girl that isn’t afraid to get her hands a little dirty, or a little boy who isn’t afraid to cook? Let the little ones see you tackling some of these tasks together as a couple. You’ll ultimately be instilling in them the value of teamwork; and they’ll expect that from their partner in the future.
#3: What Commitment Actually Means
If you let Hollywood tell it, commitment and marriage don’t mean squat. If you didn’t know any better, you’d believe that when things get hard in a relationship that it’s time to high-tail it out of there. Be a good example of what a truly committed relationship
really is. Let your children see you work through those tough times – be they financial, career related, or emotional. When the kids see you stick it out, they’ll ultimately learn that marriage is about overcoming all of the tough times together.
#4: Being a Part of a Family is a Gift That Should Be Enjoyed
With a majority of families consisting of two working parents, kids today unfortunately only get to see mommy and daddy slaving away trying to balance the demanding task of working a 9 to 5 job and maintaining a home. Don’t forget that the beauty of having a family is the fact that you always have people around to enjoy and have fun with
. It’s okay to put a chore or two on hold to make time to have some fun. You’ll be sending the message to your children that having a family and being a parent isn’t a miserable unpleasant job.
#5: How to Apologize
We’re taught early on that a simple apology can hold a lot of weight. A little apology somehow has a way of making an argument, disagreement, or hurt feelings disappear. Did you and the spouse just have a fight or small mishap? Let your kids see you apologize. It’s great for children to see that mommy and daddy can be mad at one another and then come together to fix it. The idea that it can be fixed is most important. A simple sorry can go a long way.
Is it possible to sensor and adjust everything you say and do? Not at all; but by taking these tips into consideration and making attempts at modifying a few undesirable behaviors, you’re chances of having a pretty cool, well adjusted kid increase exponentially.
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