In order for your kid to become a decent human being, they have to see you
be a decent human being. Now granted, some kids are born sociopaths, but by and large, when your kid is a problem, you’re probably the problem
. That’s the hardest thing for parents to accept.
Here's what your kids need to hear and see you say and do:They need to hear you talking positively about people, situations, and them.
You never know when they are listening. Share all the good things you think about them in a positive way rather than always being pissed off. They need to see you fighting fair with your spouse.
Mom and Dad are not always going to agree. Your kids are watching how you treat each other when you disagree and how you resolve the disagreement. They need to see you apologize
. Say sorry not only to your spouse but to others as well. And when you blow it with your kid, apologize to him or her. You may think, "But they'll lose respect for me!"
No. You'll actually gain
their respect. They need to see you be open and honest
. That's how they learn about being open and honest. They need to see you have passion for something in the world or your community
(e.g. a charity or hobby). They need to see you being grateful for the small things.
Your kids need to hear you say “please
" and "thank you.” They need to see you make family a priority.
Show affection towards them and your spouse. They need to see you making choices and plans, and hear your thought process.
When you go shopping, think out loud: "I could get two of these, but if I got four of the other kind, that would save me $3. That’s the smarter thing to do,"
or, "They’re going to have a sale next week, let’s come back."They need to see you sometimes say, “I don’t know how to do this.”
Have someone assist you - it could even be one of the kids! They need to see you reading.
Make reading a pleasure (and I don’t mean reading something on your stupid cell phone).They need to see you get adequate sleep and eat well.
If you're a hyper-maniac, your kid is likely going to be a hyper-maniac - they learned it from you.
Want more Dr. Laura? Join the Dr. Laura Free Family
to listen to Dr. Laura's daily Call of the Day
and receive her Daily Dose newsletter