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Teaching by Example

A common mistake we make as parents is underrating our kids. Children have a mind of their own and can see as much as we do. They may not know as yet to call it hypocrisy, or to call us hypocrites to our faces, but they are not blind or daft. They definitely do wonder why daddy and mommy want them to quit doing something they do themselves. Even as an adult, I still do some things exactly the way my mom used to when we were growing up. Luckily for me, itís a good habit I picked up because trust me, bad habits die hard. Here are some scenarios where we negatively influence our kids.

1. Smoking: I remember an incident that happened growing up as a kid. One afternoon, I caught a little cousin of mine smoking an already used stick of cigarette someone had dropped behind the house. I was shocked to say the least, but my little cousin was shocked that I was shocked. "My daddy smokes, my brother does too." He said in his defense, because I'd threatened to report to my uncle, who was his dad. He beat me to it, by informing me that his dad and older brother smoked. Smoking has never added any value to any life rather it gradually but steadily takes away from you. It is not a habit to toy around with. When you as parents smoke around your children, it's really unfair to expect them not to, or rebuke them when they do because you have not shown them a good example and so have no moral justification to reprimand them.

2. Disrespecting your wife: A son who always hears his father speak harshly to his mom, or verbally abuse his mom or even hit her, would grow up disrespecting women because you have made it seem an acceptable behavior. It becomes irrelevant to him whether you go back to apologize to his mom or not. His young mind has picked up that violence and it would definitely interfere with his upbringing.

3. Lying: I used to have a neighbor who would actually tell her kids what lies to tell their dad when he returned from the office. Whenever she wanted to stage a lie to get something from her husband, she'd get the kids involved. She actually got one of her kids to pretend to be ill, just to get her husband's attention. I told her that was both evil and a clear case of child abuse. She stopped speaking to me afterwards, but that is beside the point. How can you seriously teach a child to tell the truth when you make it easy and comfortable for that child to lie and actually love it!

4. You are the neighborhood's terrorist: If you are known to easily and constantly pick up fights and quarrels in your neighborhood or workplace, what do you think your kids will be doing at school? They would be bullying and terrorizing their classmates as well, because you have not thought them the values of living at peace with one another.

5. You are always impolite: If you are always impolite and snobbish to your neighbors or co-workers, your kids will pick this attitude up and it will be quite difficult to get them to respect their teacher or classmates at school.

So, there you have it. You can not sway your kids from doing things when you do them yourself. We are role models to our kids and no matter their ages, they are watching us closely and doing what they see us do.

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