Thursday, June 28, 2012

“Do what I do.”

Parents are often in attendance at workshops with pen and paper in hand ready to hear what they need to do to their child to equip them for success and safety.  They are shocked to find out presenters do not spend a great deal of time listing things to do to the child, but to the parent.  Why?  Because that is who the parent has control over. The most effective training is based on this simple principle:

                                          80% of all behavior is modeled behavior.

I can change my child by changing me!
How do you handle anger, depression, rejection, weariness, frustration, failure, financial setbacks, death, job loss or other life issues?  Do you turn immediately to chemicals for relief of stress or pain?  These life realities are the times when we provide some of the most important life lessons our children will ever learn.  If these life crisis points cause us to blame, become physically or verbally violent, insulting, or turn to chemicals for relief, it may not be too surprising to see the same behaviors in our children.  Children are receptors and reflectors.  Recognizing that, every parent becomes painfully aware that some of the very attitudes and actions we don't like in our children are the same that we don't like in ourselves.

Athletic stars are condemned when they fail to be proper "role models" for children today.  The truth is, they are really not the important role models that teach children how to handle life and its success or setbacks.  They are heroes.  Parents, teachers, neighbors, uncles and aunts, grandparents, coaches and others who spend time with them daily are the real "role models" for living.  These teach them how to handle life by example.

Watch a child's eyes when a parent is confronted with a crisis point in life and the lesson is quickly driven home.  They watch their parent – intently observing their every action and emotion.  This is a "teachable moment" for certain.

The powerful lesson for parents in regard to the issue of modeling is simple.  Live what you want them to learn.  Parents often wonder why children pick up negative traits such as a "bad temper."  They often do not realize that children indiscriminately imitate what they see.  Parents may know that they model responsibility and other positive behaviors but are unaware that they model some negative traits as well. 

There is one person in the equation of parenting that you do have power over and that is yourself.  If you do not desire for your child to be rude when angry, hold your tongue.  If you want your child to set goals, share yours.  If you don't want your child using chemicals to change their moods, bolster their courage, or kill their pain, then don’t behave in that way yourself.  Children learn what we live.

Scripture to Claim
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.  James 1:22

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