As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. This is especially true in parenting. Little ones learn how to live most the strategies required for a successful life by watching their parents. While well-meaning words seem to fall on deaf ears, consistent deeds form unforgettable lessons.
With the importance of actions in mind, here are some example behaviors parents should avoid in order to ensure their young ones are learning all the right lessons.
Adult Screen Time
Evidence continues to accumulate that supports cautious screen time habits for youngsters. A growing pile of evidence points out the cognitive and behavioral dangers too much screen time presents to growing minds.
However, your child’s screen habits aren’t the only dangerous digital behaviors. Parents who spend too much time gazing at their phones, tablets, and laptops put their children at risk of suffering the effects of distracted parenting, which can include:
- Lack of emotional connection with caregivers.
- Decreased ability to learn through observation.
- Failure to form effective coping mechanisms.
By choosing to spend time with your device rather than your child, your actions are saying that your virtual connections are more important than your family. Show your children that you care by putting your phone away when they’re around.
Recent research suggests that talking to yourself is a sign of intelligence. However, the words we say out loud impact more than just our ears. Be careful how you speak to yourself when your children are present. Negative self-talk might seem harmless to time-hardened adults. But impressionable youngsters believe everything that comes out of their parents’ mouths. Calling yourself fat, stupid, clumsy, or using any other derogatory term in reference to yourself causes a long-lasting confusion that can affect the child’s own self-image.
When faced with reluctance, refusal, or lack of motivation, many parents respond with repeated threats and warnings. The hope is that children, frightened by the threat of potential punishment, will decide to change their behavior.
Unfortunately, repeated warnings do little more than teach your child how to ignore you. Skip the repeated warnings and follow through on your notices to retain respect in your parental authority.
Poor Listening Skills
Why don’t your kids ever listen to anything you say? Because you don’t listen to them. Chores and other responsibilities make it difficult for busy adults to commit the time and mental energy it takes to effectively communicate with their young ones. When parents neglect to fully engage with their children during a conversation, it reinforces poor communication habits that result in less fulfilling relationships throughout their lives.
Of course, you can’t take time out of your day to listen to every meandering story your 4-year-old wants to tell. Instead, find small amounts of time throughout the day to disconnect from everything else and give your undivided attention to your child.
Changing your behaviors can be tough. However, the effort will benefit your child for many years into the future.