Many times parents expect kids to "Do what I say, not as I do." But a parent's example is way more powerful than you might think.
That became apparent to this 'Reporter Mom' earlier this week.
I can't relate to you the number of hours I've spent prepping my now one year-old daughter on ABC's, animal names, what 'open' and 'close' mean - all the things you would think a little girl needs to know.
But what is coming out of her mouth is surprising to say the least.
Here's a transcript of a recent car ride.
I said, "Hey Brinley what did you do at Auntie's house today?"
Brinley answers with garbling in high and low pitches. Obviously it was very exciting to her...perhaps something about taking a swing ride, or even how she played with her cousin.
I answered, "Really? That sounds like fun."
Brinley startled me and said, "Uh huh."
I smiled and said, "That's cool."
She responded, "That's cool."
After a good chuckle when i realized my little one was using modern slang, I got worried. "My daughter was using slang," I thought to myself. After all the lessons and talking I had done before - that's what she came away with.
There is a bright side to this - She's using the phrase in the right context. She says it when she sees big animals and things I would find impressive myself. However, it's a good reminder that parents live in a sort of fishbowl; our behavior is always on display for your children to learn from.
But this is a bigger issue for parents than just slang control. Kids learn from what you do...not what you say on pretty much every topic in life.
That's proven time and time again by the statistics.
Numerous research reports show that children are more likely to drink heavily and binge on alcohol in high school and college. That's the same story for cigarette use.
Here are some articles.Parental Modeling and Parenting Behavior Effects on Offspring Alcohol and Cigarette Use: A Growth Curve Analysis"
Other studies into the growing adolescent obesity epidemic shows that parents' behaviors, attitudes and feeding styles around food influence their child's eating patterns.Here's another article about this:
Most experts agree: you as the parent have the personal responsibility to model the behaviors you want in your children.
- If you want polite children - then you must be polite.
- If you want children to awaken in a pleasant mood - then you must awaken pleasantly.
- If you want neat children - then you must be neat.
- If you want happy children - then you must be happy.
- If you want physically fit children - then you must be physically fit.
- If you want financially responsibility children-then you must be financially responsible.
So remember that the next time you open your mouth. I'm just lucky I learned it right now. A little slang never hurt anyone...although it does sound funny for newly walking one-year old to tout the phrase in public.
Remember your example literally shapes your child's habits, whether you like them or not.