How to Behave so Your Children
Teach by Example
I read a book by Sal Sever over 11 years ago with the same title as above. It had a profound influence in how I raised my children. All too often parents go by the motto , "Do as I say, not as I do." If you want to be an effective parent that really won't work. Think about this. What do you want to accomplish as a parent? Do you just want to have fun with your kids? Give them everything they want, be their best friend, make up for what you never had? Or do you want your kids to grow into strong, mature adults? To be more than what you have become? Self sufficient, love learning, reliable, trustworthy, loving, respectful, committed, positive, and deeply sold out to Jesus? If you love your children, then I'm sure you want the latter. We also emphasize the blessing of God in everything we do. Children need to be in a loving and nurturing environment.
Love and Respect:
I think that is the first thing we need to show kids when it comes to manners. From the time they are babies, they can understand love and respect. Your children know when you hold them and rock them often, that they are loved. What if you hardly touched them? Hardly spoke to them, or if when you did it was always harshly? What if you acted like they were more of a burden than a blessing? Then they would not see love and respect. Kids are like sponges and soak up everything we say and do. I am careful how I speak to them , each other, and those around us.Yelling and disrespectful behavior is a horrible example, and does not provide a positive learning experience. We should use a sweet and soft tone of voice, using patience with our speech. I am not always perfect with this, but I do know that we can asked their forgiveness. Make sure when you do, you look them in the eye and ask. You will get more respect from them this way. God gives us mercy, and forgives us. So, we show this to the children and remind them of God's love for us.
What is your normal tone when speaking to your children? It could often be an irritated tone. We are so busy with all of their little demands. I am constantly bombarded with demands, "I want this cup. No, not the blue one, the red one!!", " My science fair project is due today!!"," I don't want to take a nap!". How we respond to their demands is a great teaching time for them. When they grow older, you will see the positive results of your actions. Even from the time they are little babies, show love, not irritation. If you get to the point of frustration, leave the room. They will be blessed and not even know it! Take yourself out of the situation, then come back when you can discipline or deal with them effectively.
I try really hard to show respectful speech to my husband when we are around the kids. If we have an argument, then we try to take it away from the kids' ears. I do believe kids need to hear their parents sort out their differences, but not when it comes to a point of disrespectful speech. And it is not showing them love that a family should display.
I have been around a lot of negative and hatefulness. It's easy to get caught up in that kind of tone and use it. I have worked very hard to get rid of that tone. And I am still working on it! I remind myself daily to pay attention to my tone of voice when I speak to their brothers and my husband. If we have hateful attitudes when speaking to a brother, they see that, learn and respond the same way we do. We emphasize in our home that there will be respectful speech to each other, always. (I will talk more about sibling rivalry in a different section.) I do not want them to be hateful to each other. It makes for a very unhappy home.
Another great way to teach them love and respect is by how we treat others. I try to hold the door open for other people, and encourage them to do the same. We also teach them, "Ladies First". I was so happy to see my youngest son say, "Ladies first!", when we were waiting to get off of the elevator at the hospital. It made all the men and women smile! We hold the door open for anyone, men or women. We smile at strangers and say "Hi" when we are at a store. We minister to those in need by providing meals for a sick friend. We open our home to friends. We are nice to the lady at the check out line, even if she has a bad attitude. We tell the boys that God gives us opportunities to serve others in a respectful way and how blessed we are to be able to help others. That person might have just needed that special smile from a stranger, that friend may not have had any food to eat that night, the lady at the check out line might have had someone yell at her a few minutes before. We never know what people are going through and a simple kind gesture may be all that they need. And in the process you are teaching your children respect for other people.
We try hard to remember to set a good example for the boys. If we are not honest with them, they will not be honest. If they see us lie to someone, they will lie. If they see us read something inappropriate, they will read inappropriate things. If they see us watch inappropriate shows or movies, they will watch inappropriate shows or movies. If we use inappropriate language, they will use inappropriate language. If we don't wear seat belt or obey traffic laws, they will not either. We do not let our children watch rated -R movies. If a movie is rated PG-13, and it's still inappropriate for our son, we will not let them watch that either. We want positive values instilled in their minds. Not nonsense or garbage.
I tell my boys all the time, "No matter how young or small, you CAN make a difference in this world!". I remember a story about a young boy who wanted the people in Africa to have fresh water. All he knew how to do was play basketball. So, he organized a fundraiser and raised money to make wells in Africa! He also had very supportive parents who did not discourage his actions. They could have easily said he was too young or not that great at basketball. Yet, they were beside him every step of the way. If your kids come to you to help someone, please don't discourage them. Help them! We volunteer at a local food bank and a homeless shelter a few times a year. The boys have a great time, especially knowing they are helping someone in need. We minister to those in need in our Bible fellowship class. We volunteer at the school. We volunteer for the sports teams. I love being a "room mom,' and a "team mom." They see my love for it, and it is a great example of how Christ want us to give from the heart. I volunteer at a battered women's shelter. The boys can not go with me for this, but I talk to them about how we are helping them. We try to do a lot for our church and our community. We do not try to do everything at one time. We organize things through out the year.
Do you display a strong work ethic? My husband is a very hard worker. I mean physically hard. He comes home at night exhausted, and body worn. Yet, he never misses a day of work unless it is absolutely necessary. If he did not work hard, then they would not think they would have to work hard. In this life, not everything is handed to you. I do believe in blessings that God gives us. But the Bible also tells us that we are to be diligent workers. I am a stay at home mom, but I am not the stereo-typical stay at home mom. And the kids know that. My oldest says to me sometimes, "Don't you ever sit down?". I do not watch TV and eat Bon-Bons all day, and order the kids to do their chores so the house will be clean. I have been diligent to keep up with the cleaning and household duties. That is where this idea for this website came to be. I base my life of being a wife and stay at home mom from the Proverbs 31 Woman. There is much to be learned by her. I wanted to be able to help my husband in all the ways I could from being at home and not bringing in a usable income. I learned to save money in many areas, plan good meals, keep up with all cleaning duties, and many more. Just because you do not bring in an income does not mean that you can't teach your children a strong work ethic!
Respect for School/Learning
I will emphasize more on instilling a love of learning in a different section later. But, how do your show your kids respect about learning or school. Are you supportive of your school? Do you volunteer at school? Do you try to help the teachers make the classroom a better learning environment for the kids? Be a room mom, help coach a school sport, volunteer in their classrooms, get to know their principal, get to know their bus drivers. Talk to your kids about your school experiences. Do not emphasize on the bad. Talk more about the good. If you talk about the bad things makes sure there is a lesson for them to learn in the story.