Many parents today were raised in an environment where they were told to “do what I say, not what I do,” either explicitly or implicitly. Children were expected to be seen and not heard, or at least not to question what their parents told them to do. This style doesn’t work anymore, as society tells children to question everything. While answers are easier to find, right and wrong is a little more difficult to discern and children need a good role model now more than ever.
Set a Good Example
When it comes to setting a good example, many parents don’t realize that they are implying that children should do as they’re told while displaying the opposite behavior. Parents may tell children to finish their chores or homework before picking up the video game controller; meanwhile they leave the kitchen a mess or other chores not done to check their social media. The same is true when parents tell kids to “be nice” and then talk badly about friends and family members. Children may do as they are told for a while, but they will default to the habits that they see their parents display.
Being understanding can go a long way. Children may feel stressed or brain-fried after getting out of school and may need time to unwind before starting in on homework. Speaking to them about the importance of getting homework done and leaving plenty of time to unwind before bed can motivate children to dive in on their own accord after having a little time to relax after school. The same is true with many situations.
Being respectful to children and providing guidance can help them to feel more comfortable and secure in their decisions. When children feel that they have permission to make decisions and even to make mistakes, they are more likely to try to make the right decisions. When they feel that they are being forced to do things a certain way, they are much more likely to rebel and try things a different way as soon as they have a chance.