Parents, there are some things you do that directly influence the kind of kids you raise. Do these five things and your kids will be ill-mannered. If you don’t want that, stop doing them.
The following are five things parents do that directly influence the kind of kids they raise:
1. The way we speak to our children—and even to each other—influences their behavior.
When we use phrases like “shut up” or “you’re stupid,” or if we talk down to our children in a condescending tone, it does more than make them feel bad about themselves; it makes them feel bad about themselves to us.
Kids want to please their parents, and this behavior can cause a child to think he or she is unworthy of being treated with respect. Even worse, it teaches children how they should treat others—with disrespect and disdain.
This is one reason why so many people have such a hard time getting along with each other these days; people tend to model how they treat others after how they were treated like children by their parents and authority figures.
2. Don’t let your kids eat food in front of the TV.
This has been linked to obesity, but it also can teach kids to disrespect the family mealtime. Family meals help children learn about the world around them, how to get along with others, and how to share.
3. Don’t use your cell phone at the dinner table.
This is a major problem these days as parents try to multi-task their way through family time, even if it means neglecting their children in favor of their phones. If you are a good parent, you have to be present for your kids; this includes turning off your phone and focusing on them during family time.
4. Children are affected by how we discipline them—whether or not we discipline them at all—and how we respond when they do something wrong or make a mistake (or even when they don’t).
If we punish our children for mistakes or for behavior that doesn’t warrant punishment, it teaches them that they should expect punishment and humiliation whenever they do something wrong or make mistakes.
That is what a parent who believes in punishment does; he punishes his child when he does something wrong because he believes his child deserves it—and he punishes him for making a mistake because he believes he should punish his child for making a mistake.
This is not how to raise children who will learn to treat others with respect and dignity. Instead, we need to teach our children that mistakes are part of life and that everyone makes them, but they don’t have to be treated as if they are something shameful or bad.
5. Don’t put your child in a position where he or she has to apologize for you when you have done something wrong.
Most parents do this without even realizing it. If you allow your child to do this, it teaches him or her that it is okay for him or her to put themselves in the middle of situations where they are defending someone else who has done something wrong.
It also teaches them that their job is to protect you from getting into trouble. This can make kids feel guilty and shameful if they don’t protect their parents when they have done something wrong, even if they don’t deserve protection.