Be a Better Example If You Want to be a Better Parent

Being a better parent is something we all try to be for our kids.  There are lots of ways we can do so, but one of the most effective and powerful is simply being a better example.  Expecting your kids to act and behave a certain way goes a lot further if we are first intent on being that example.

At camp, our counselors are trained on a number of techniques to promote positive behavior and create a kind and compatible environment.  However, the one thing we stress to everyone is ‘walk it like you talk it’.  So here are some quick reminders that we believe are important for all of us, camp counselors and parents alike.

5 Ways We Can Be a Better Example for Our Kids

Strive to be Your Kid’s #1 Role Model
Kids learn by watching their parents. Imagine how you would like your kid to grow up, the character traits he or she possesses, and the way you would like them to interact with others.  Now, make sure you are modeling that exact behavior to them.  Sure, when they hit their teens, they probably will act like they don’t want to be anything like you.  That’s ok, hold fast and stay true to your plan.  They not only need that kind of example from you, they require it.

Own Up When You Screw Up
We make plenty of mistakes as parents and so will our kids.  Therefore, who better to teach our children to recognize a mistake and take ownership of our faults, than us.  Sometimes that’s a hard pill to swallow, but the power in apology is far greater than ignoring it when we have been wrong.  It’s a practice well worth demonstrating.

Always Tell the Truth
Seems simple enough, but the level of honesty and integrity they see you exemplify, will be the bar with which they set for themselves in life. The conversations you have with others, how you deal with friends, family, and everyone around you is absorbed by your kids.  Give them good reason to treat everyone with truthfulness and integrity.  They will do likewise. 

Demonstrate How Relationships Work
When it comes to understanding how relationships work, your marriage is your child’s number one example. How you communicate with your spouse, the level of care and love you demonstrate, and the compassion you show is what your child will expect from their relationship when they get older.  So model a loving, kind example.

Respect Each Other’s Parenting
There is more than one way to parent well.  Have a good basic understanding how you and your partner want to parent and be on the same general path when it comes to expectations for your kids.  When differences in parenting styles arise (which they will), don’t throw your partner under the bus in front of the kids.  In private discuss your differences and come to a better understanding of how you can both team up for the good of your child.

Parenting is the consummate ‘work in progress’ endeavor.  We never really achieve perfection or anything close to it.  However, the act of striving to be better and consistently being mindful of our actions and example for our kids will ensure that we provide the best opportunity for our kids to grow healthy and happy.

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