Setting a good example for your children is the most powerful way to teach them positive behaviors and attitudes. Parents who behave in a negative manner (fight constantly, abuse alcohol and/or drugs, are disrespectful, are unmotivated, etc.) teach their children to behave in these ways. Parents who communicate with “do as I say, not as I do” confuse their children and damage their own credibility as parents. Hence, it is important that parents keep their actions and words consistent.
Someone is Watching
One of the most powerful ways children learn is by watching their parents’ actions. Today, it is widely recognized that children, who are abused or grow up in homes where parents or family members abuse alcohol and use drugs, will likely face emotional roadblocks as they enter adulthood. Such children experience an extremely negative example of family life.
What Kind of Messages are You Sending?
Children can also be damaged by behavior that does not seem to be harmful. For instance, parents with low motivation, or who deny responsibility for their mistakes, may convey the message to their children that hard work, determination, and personal responsibility are not important. Like their parents, such children are likely to do poorly in school and may later have difficulty finding or keeping a career. When they do find a job, it may be in an occupation that is considerably less challenging and likely to be low in income levels.
Home Environment Counts
Through lack of interest and attention, parents tell their child that he or she is not important, has little value, and may not be worthy of love. Children growing up in such a family are likely to have low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Such an environment sets the stage for difficulties and failures in school and other areas of life.
George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management