Most parents want their children to be like just them. The good news is that children too, at least when they are young, want to be like their parents. Parents are, after all, their earliest role models. While this makes it easy for parents to mold children's behavior, it also confers a significant responsibility on them.
Here are things you can do to become a role model for your child:
- Practice rather than preach: Infants instinctively pick up behavioral clues by watching their parents. Your actions influence them more than your sermons. By always doing yourself what you expect them to do, you can ensure that your children will naturally follow desired norms of behavior. This is often easier and more effective than forcing children to obey rules by instilling fear in them or even by enticing them with rewards.
- Obey your own rules: If you want your child to obey the rules of the house, obey them yourself first. This is important because your child will learn to respect these rules as innately inviolable, rather than grudgingly obey them out of fear.
- Teach by example: Children often find it difficult to understand abstract concepts such as courtesy or respect. One way of teaching your children how to be respectful or courteous, is to emulate these qualities in your own interactions with other people.
- Convey right emotions: Children often tend to be confused about emotions. For instance, they may construe anger on your part as meaning that you do not love them. It is up to you to always let them know, through your actions and responses, that though you may scold them when they do something wrong, it does not mean that your love for them has reduced.