Kids, even before the age when they can speak or walk, are still learning from their parents. This largely comes in the form of “monkey see monkey do.” They see someone they look up to doing or saying something, and mimic it, even if it is a negative habit. That is why it is so imperative for parents to actively work to set a positive model for their kids. Whether they realize their kids are learning or not, they are.
Do Not Fight in Front of Children
If children see parents fighting or observe them being angry with each other they will be quick to pick up this anger toward their parents or other people. They will think that this type of behavior is okay, and even normal, and will grow up more likely as combative children. When you are in front of your children make sure that you are exuding kindness through all of your words and actions. Even if they are too young to understand what you are saying, they will still be able to pick up on the feelings it conveys.
Do Not Talk Down to Children
It is important to not just expect children to respect you, but to have a channel of mutual respect between you and your children. This respect-based language will encourage them to continue treating those around them respectfully and kindly. Instead of making demands of your children, instead ask them kindly. Instead of patronizing them, talk to them like they are competent human beings.
Value What Your Children Have to Say
When your children do begin to speak it is critical to ensure they know that their opinions and what they have to say is valued and heard. This will be essential to their development into a mature adult, and an adult who is able to speak with confidence and have the confidence to communicate effectively. This can be done very simply by paying attention to them when engaging in a conversation and not brushing off how they feel. In this area, it is also important that you give them the space to allow them to feel and learn to express their feelings so they will develop a healthy relationship with emotion and expression.