Parenting is the most important and most challenging job you will ever have. You can read every parenting book and still make mistakes. It’s just the way of life.
If you really want to do right by your children and raise thoughtful, honest and loving adults, show them by example. Here are five ways to set a good example for your kids.
Avoid emotional reactions.
Emotional reactions are natural, and they feel good in the moment. But emotions can get in the way of sound decision-making. For example, reacting in anger can ruin relationships and get you into trouble with authorities. Show your children how to control their own emotions by reacting calmly to tense situations. If you find yourself wanting to react in anger, walk away until you can get your emotions under control.
Explain your decisions.
There’s power in witnessing a good decision, but the biggest lessons may not be obvious to a child. Timeouts or redirections are good examples of times you can explain your actions. If you give a child a timeout, always explain why. Talk about what your child did to break the rules and how they need time to calm down and think about better ways to handle situations. “Because I said so” may work, but it does nothing for setting a good example. On the other hand, talking things through lets your child know that you respect him or her enough to be honest with them.
Admit your mistakes.
No one is perfect. When you act in a way that’s contrary to how you’d like your kids to act, admit your mistake. If you interrupt them while they’re speaking, apologize and let them continue. Remember that your children are people too. Treat them as you would want to be treated.
Practice good stress management. – Stress is one of the biggest issues we face as adults, and so few of us have healthy outlets for our anxiety. Find healthy outlets for your own stress, such as yoga, meditation or exercise, and explain to your children that these are things they can do when they start feeling stressed.
Maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol.
Your actions leave an indelible mark on your children, whether they are good or bad. If your children see you overindulging or using alcohol to cope with stress, they are likely to follow in your footsteps. Be careful about how often and how much you drink around your children. Abstinence certainly isn’t necessary, unless you’ve had past problems, but be sure you’re sending the right message. Alcohol should be treated as an occasional indulgence, much like ice cream.
From the moment you let that first swear word slip out of your mouth, you realize how likely our kids are to pick up on bad habits. That’s why we owe it to them to live by our best example. No one will ever be perfect, but if you try to live your best life, your child will likely follow in your footsteps.
Author Bio: Trevor is part of the content marketing team for Coastal Detox and a recovering addict & alcoholic who’s been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts, playing at the beach with his daughter, or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
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