It is often said that we are "bringing up our children." If that is the case, then we must make certain that we do not bring our children down as well. Sadly, this is often the case, as parents frequently confuse their children with what is expected from day to day. Children require a consistent application of meaningful laws just as licensed drivers do, as this makes it so much easier to drive each day knowing the rules are still the same. Imagine the confusion if the rules randomly changed and on one day red traffic lights meant "go." How often would we crash our cars into one another? "I thought this was red means GO day," says one person. "No," says the other, "that was the other day, I think." All this change results in confusion and that only brings chaos. Successful parenting cannot involve chaos, but it must include constancy and thoughtfulness.
Successful parenting is a task that requires you to be dedicated and persistent, applying effective and appropriate action after action, day after day, so that your child can learn; just as an elementary school teacher performs with her students day in and day out, as in "two plus two is ALWAYS four." Constancy in the classroom allows the child to learn what is to be expected. Seeing or hearing something time after time is the most successful way of learning something. Yet, all too often, as parents confuse their children with what it is they want from them when they allow the child to get away with something today, such as not cleaning her room, when yesterday they fought about it. The variation in parenting is confusing to the child. The child is never quite sure what the parent really wants today and what you will do about it. Thus, as confused children, they behave in a confused manner, after being taught by us. Your daughter considers putting off cleaning her room today, will her mother forget about it or not? Plainly put, our children behave exactly the way we have taught them to do. How do we do this?
As a parent, you must learn to have confidence in your role, knowing that your behaviors can be a result of choices, not just a reaction to and memory of how your parents acted with you. Your role is that of a leader, the manager, the principal. What you do, say, or the way you act with your child will then teach your child what to expect of others. Should you argue with your child, he will expect it to be appropriate to argue with others such as the school teacher. Should he see you fight with someone, either verbally or physically, you are likely to hear about your child doing the same thing with others, perhaps even you. And that's the rub: if you never tell your child how to behave, he would do the very same behaviors he is exhibiting now, because children learn by observation. For all the talking people do with children, it does very little actual good if we ourselves do not behave as we tell them to behave. Far too often, parents act one way and expect their child to do differently. The phrase, "Do as I say, not as I do," is useless; children will perform exactly as we do. It is that simple
A parent teaches by doing. If you treat others badly, your child will learn to do so. If you watch too much television or drink too much, your child will do so as well. If you read the newspaper or books, your child will learn to develop an interest in reading. If you drive too fast and furious, your child will do the same. If you exercise regularly, your child will develop an interest in that area, sports perhaps. If you are polite and considerate toward others, your child will develop the similar habit. If you behave in an honest and moral manner, your child will follow you. Bringing your children up is accomplished in the way we live as individuals, as parents. Thus, wanting your child to behave is easier than ever, if you are willing to behave first.