My favorite thing (or least favorite), is when I have a family come in and mom and/or dad is complaining about the child’s behavior, and all the mean time the parent has cussed, hit, or discussed an adult matter right in front of the child. My response is “Monkey See Monkey Do….sometimes.”
If you are modeling something in front of your child, don’t be surprised if they begin to do the same thing. Your child is your mirror, and they are looking for every opportunity to pick up a new habit. Monkey See Monday Do! Of course you will have some slip-ups, but don’t make them too often.
Once I had a little boy that was having behavior problems in school and per dad, “The teacher was the problem,” (hmm….not likely). But, mom and dad would discuss their negative feelings about the teacher in front of the child. One day, he tells his teacher that his daddy said he is going to “Come up to the school and show her some bad behavior.” hmmmm where could he have heard this……Just be careful what you say in front of your child and more importantly how you say things. Adult conversations should not be had around children. Take situations like this one as an opportunity to teach them how to deal with people you disagree with appropriately instead of bad mouthing and using aggression.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, children start learning before the age of one the different between right and wrong. Which also means they start making choices for themselves around that time as well. As a parent, it is unhealthy and way too much pressure for you to think ALL of their mistakes are because of you; even into adulthood. As children get older they are influenced not only by their parents, but more so by the friends and peers. So, pay attention to who your children are hanging around; are their friends good role models and good influences for them? If not you may want to help them form a new circle of friends, (which can cause some defiance & rebellious behavior at first).
As long as you are modeling positive behaviors, and trying your best to make sure your child holds positive company, you are doing what you can to help them make good decisions. At the end of the day, their choices are their own, and they have to learn to take responsibility for them. Your job, as a parent, is to be a good role model, provide empathy when needed, and make sure you help them learn from their bad choices when they occur.