In the minds of our children, we are superheroes. We have super human strengths and a host of other powers (x-ray vision, super bionic ears, fortune telling abilities, etc) that enable us to be awesome parents. As such, our children monitor us closely to determine how THEY should live a Christ-centered life. Simply put…we are their role models. When you consider the fact that we are the foundation for how they may come to live their lives, it may be time to reevaluate some things.
Watch What You Say
Have you ever said or done something without thinking and later found your child repeating it at a later date? “From the mouths of babes” is often how we get the bigger picture. Our words are very powerful and our children take heed. They learn from us how to communicate to others and rationalize our emotions. That said we need to be more conscious of what we say and how we say it.
Take Care of Yourself
As parents, taking care of yourself is typically a task that is put on the back burner. You’re so busy caring for your children and the household, that finding time to do what’s right for you can be rough. However, if you’re not at your best physically and emotionally, how can you be the ideal role model for your children?
- Schedule and keep regular medical appointments – It can be easy to go two and three years without having gone to the doctor for a physical, but this teaches your children that health is not a top priority and that going to the doctor or dentist is only vital when something is terribly wrong. Be sure to schedule your physicals and dental appointments as a family so that your children can see it’s a top priority.
- Watch what you consume – Eating healthy in front of your children is ideal. This teaches them the importance of a well balanced diet from the very beginning. Make sure that you incorporate the five food groups into your diet as often as possible (of course a happy meal or two won’t hurt). Food is not the only thing that you need to watch the consumption of in front of children. Drugs (legal and illegal) and alcohol consumption should also be kept to an absolute minimum. Unfortunately, futuresofpalmbeach.com reports that drug consumption has increased by more than eight percent in the last twelve years. While a drink of wine with dinner or a pain pill to numb an ache can be alright on occasion, overuse could lead to abuse and addiction problems for your child down the road.
- Taking Care of Your Mind – your mental state of being is also viewed by your children. While you might think that you’re hiding it, feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, anger, etc can be easily detected by your children. Take the time to care for your emotional well-being. Whether that means finding things to do on your down time or seeking professional help if things get out of hand, it is important to show your children how to handle overwhelming emotion.
Don’t Be Afraid of Being Human
Lastly, as a role model, you cannot be afraid of being human. Children need to see that you’re not perfect or else they develop a perfectionist complex (believing they too must be perfect). When you make mistakes, admit them. The Christian religion should help in this area as when role models from the Bible fall short, they ask God’s forgiveness and essentially find a better way to deal with their issues in the future.
No one is perfect, and there will come times during your role as a parent that you fall short. However, by keeping the basics in mind of watching what you say and how you treat others, taking care of yourself mentally and physically and showing that it’s okay to make mistakes, your children will learn to be better people. Essentially, the biggest guide you have along the way is your faith in Christ. Use this tool and others to help you be the best you that you can be…. So that your children grow up to be the best that they can be.