“Do as I Say, Not as I Do” – Does It Really Work?

“Do as I say, not as I do” is a phrase that a lot of parents like to use. But, does it have much of an impact? The truth is that children learn their generosity, compassion, likes, dislikes, prejudices, choices, lifestyle, behaviors, and attitudes by osmosis. They watch and listen to their parents, and this shapes the person they become. Leading by example, therefore, would be a much more effective attitude to adopt.

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Children naturally want to do what their parents do. It’s life’s biggest compliment; to see your child admiring you and wanting to be like you. Think about it; when your children first smiled, it was because you were smiling back at them. This is how it all starts, and it continues throughout life, through infant years, teenage years, and then into adulthood.

Because of this, it is a good idea to think about what you want to model. What do you want to teach your child? Do you want to teach a child to be responsible? If so, you need to have responsible routines and habits in place around the home. Take the mere act of brushing your teeth as a prime example. If you don’t brush your teeth morning and night, your child will question why they need to? You can teach children individual responsibility through the care of themselves and their personal possessions.

If you want your child to have great manners and be aware of how other people are feeling, then you need to act in this way too. You can find out more about raising your kids to be polite here. Not only can you teach your child to be polite in the way they speak, but also you can show them how to be helpful and go the extra mile for someone. By doing kind things for other people, your children will learn to be nice without expecting anything back.

No doubt, you will want to teach your child the importance of having a good work ethic. A lot of children grow up to expect everything handed on a plate to them. This is not simply because they have been spoilt when growing up; it could also be because they haven’t seen their parents work for what they have – even if you have worked hard! It is important to display the value of hard work, commitment, and discipline. Of course, balancing being a parent and work is difficult, but if you’re 18 or older you can fill out a Lowes application. Working in a store like this one often provides flexible hours, and it is a sociable job. You could work part-time so that it does not encroach on parenthood too much.

Finally, the best parental modeling you can provide is expressed through embracing the joy of living. Of course, life has its good moments and its bad points, and not everything is plain sailing, but if you have a positive outlook and choose to see the upsides of life, you can instill this attitude in your children. (Got a child dealing with depression or another mental health issue? This post about childhood depression & this one about helping boys with mental health challenges may be helpful.)

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The Building Boys Bulletin

The Building Boys Bulletin Newsletter gives you the facts, encouragement, and inspiration you need to help boys thrive. Written by Jennifer L.W. Fink, mom of four sons and author of Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World That Misunderstands Males, Building Boys Bulletin includes:

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“I learned a lot about helping boys thrive over the past 20+ years — most of it the hard way! I’m eager to share what I’ve learned to make your path a little easier.”   – Jennifer

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