Being a Role “MOm”DEL
December 18, 2015
A common theme in parenting advice tends to lean on the idea of encouraging parents to, very simply, model the behavior they want to see their children demonstrate. After all, if the old adage is true that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” our little ones will soon begin to reflect what they learn from us anyway. “Teach by example,” experts say. Basically, the pressure is on us if we want our kids to be socially competent human beings. We have a huge responsibility to be a good role model for our kids. But how can a concept so simple be so challenging to enact?
The truth is: as a parent, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do or how to act. It should be easy to model a generous spirit. It should come naturally to demonstrate good manners. But the reality is, even parents need practice with these behaviors. We don’t always model them perfectly, and sometimes we forget to consciously promote them at all. Our kids are watching us all the time; it’s impossible to stay on track as a good role “mom”del 24/7.
Being a good role model actually requires effort, fore-thought, and self-control for most parents. Those things can be in short supply when a day of motherhood could also mean facing work, dinner, laundry, and sometimes tired, cranky kids (who specifically refuse to bathe or eat) at the end of the day: not an ideal environment for practicing “mom”del behavior.
I don’t always get it right with my words, my attitude or my actions. But one of the most important parts of being a positive role “mom”del is having good, clean fun. Playing does come naturally to me, and through play, I actually model a lot of the behavior those “experts” tell us is so important, without even trying (the behavior we know as parents is important, but that we aren’t always perfect in modeling ‘round the clock). In playing with my children, I do promote sharing, taking turns, being generous, using manners, showing kindness, practicing good language, managing anger, and valuing health, laughter and most importantly: joy.
So if you’re feeling the pressure this holiday season to model generosity, or encourage behavior in your kids by modeling what you want to see, try letting it come out naturally through a little bit of playtime. The best part is: it takes no effort; no fore-thought; and the less self-control, the better.
Kiddie Academy Mom