Your children are watching your behavior very closely and they are drawing conclusions about life from what they see you do. They will (unconsciously) decide that life is exciting, life is filled with joy or life is a struggle, life is tough, life is scary, life is fun. These decisions or beliefs can stay with them for the rest of their lives and become the way they respond to their lives. When your behaviors send the message that life is not fun, your kids will go into the world and seek to prove that life is not fun. If your behavior as a mom or dad sends them positive messages about life, this is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids. So think about the behavior you demonstrated to your children today:
- Did they see you reach out and engage with others authentically and warmly?
- Did they see you laugh and smile a lot?
- Did they see you display an act of generosity or compassion?
- Did your behavior suggest that you were having a great day?
- Did your behavior indicate that you love your life?
Or did your behavior send the message that:
- People are difficult, unpleasant, irritating
- Life is a serious business – not much to laugh or smile about
- You are having a rough day
- Your life is an uphill battle
- You are stressed and uptight
- You wish your life was different
None of us are perfect and certainly we all have stressful, difficult days. And on these bad days we are entitled to behave accordingly. It is, however, important to become aware of a pattern of behaviors that you may be showing repeatedly. These may be behaviors that you got from watching your parents, or that you unintentionally adopted as your natural way of responding to life. AM I GIVING MY CHILDREN A GIFT OR A BURDEN? YOUR BEHAVIOR CHECK LIST
- Buy yourself a journal or notebook. Each night before you switch the lights off, think about the behaviors your children saw when they watched you that day.
- Write each one of these behaviors in your journal (even if some make you cringe).
- Over the weeks watch for a pattern in the behaviors you show.
- Watch your kids – do you see them behaving in ways that you behave?
- If you recognize a behavior that you would like to change, then consciously and determinedly decide what behavior you would like to replace that negative behavior with.
- Now watch yourself carefully and each time you catch yourself displaying the behavior you want to change, make the switch to the new behavior.
You will be amazed at the difference this will make to your life, your children and your family. How will you know it is working? Some signs to look out for – you feel better about you, there will be more laughter in your lives, more fun and creativity; your family will be calmer, homework will not be such a hassle, conversations will be about good things, there will be fewer arguments and so much more.
The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.