We All Wish That Our Children have Good Virtues, but... Are We Setting A Good Example Ourselves?
We all wish that our children should not smoke or drink, should not speak lies, should not steal, should not have a violent nature, etc... but are we setting a good example ourselves?
Just yesterday, I was at a friend's place and his daughter came running up to us with her school calendar and asked him to put a remark for being absent for school. They had been to a close relative's wedding and my friend merely wrote "Stomach Pain" and signed the calendar. Aren't you indirectly teaching the child that it is OK to lie? I have seen so many parents protecting the guilt of their children by lying, I wonder what will happen to them when these children start lying to their parents themselves!
Smoking is a very bad habit and you must refrain from smoking, at least in front of children. When you smoke, your child watches your actions with great concentration and then even tries to imitate you. If you cannot leave the habit, go to the terrace / verandah and smoke. If you don't have one, go for a walk and take your nicotine break there. If you have a spare room in your house, go there and remember to close / lock your door. So what if your child knows that you smoke? Don't light up in front of him. If you are smoking and your child comes to you, extinguish your cigarette, even you have just started (even if you're not a millionaire). Remember, passive smoking is just as dangerous to your child's health. Don't keep cigarettes lying around the house and always keep track of the number of cigarettes you have (even if you're a millionaire). You don't want your missing cigarettes found in your child's schoolbag, do you? Remember one thing in your life 'never ever ask your child to buy cigarettes for you, if you run out of them. If you do, be rest assured that your child will smoke, some day. You are exposing him to all the varieties of cigarettes, the touch, feel and smell of it, the cigarette vendor's marketing skills and the other smokers. If your children ask you about your smoking habit, don't lie. Tell them you do smoke and have accidently caught the habit. Don't give a reason for smoking (like you are stressed, etc) as some day you will get a similar reason from him. Also tell him that you are trying to quit and genuinely give it a try. Get an anti-smoking screensaver and install it on your PC. You can get them free if you search on Google.com. Wouldn't your children be happier if you lived a little longer?
The same goes for drinking. One important thing to remember 'never get drunk in front of your children. If you are not in your senses, you could speak or do something that you shouldn't, in front of your children. You can even cause physical or mental harm. If you MUST get drunk, go to a bar or confine yourself to a locked room. If your spouse is around, the better.
Don't use foul language in front of children. As I mentioned earlier, children try to imitate you. If you come across a reckless driver and let off steam be careful with your words. Your child is listening. Never ever use foul language with your spouse and don't abuse him / her, at least not in front of your children. I know, we all have our problems and married life (or any other life) isn't a bed of roses. But try to confine your fights to your bedroom and control the decibel level unless you have a totally soundproof room. I have heard 3 year old children speaking the filthiest language, even if they probably don't know what they're speaking!
Never ever let go a child who stole something. Now, I'm not saying that if you found out that your child is stealing, jump on him or give him a tight slap. Don't even humiliate him with shame. But sternly explain him that this is not right and make it crystal clear that it is not permitted. If he has stolen from a store, go back with him and make him return the item. If it is from school, make him return it to the teacher to avoid him from public shame. Explain to the teacher that you will be keeping an eye on him from repetition of the act. Follow your promise religiously and keep a check on his possessions within his schoolbag, his cupboard, etc. Is there something he possesses that is not bought by you? If so, be firm in knowing from where he got it from and insist on returning it. Don't accept lies too easily, its as if you're condoning the theft. Also remember, don't keep money lying around the house even if you have money to burn. Make him understand the value of money. Maintain a limit on pocket money and encourage him to save. It is also time to think if the child needs more affection and attention at home and a watch over his company. If all attempts fail, approach a child psychiatrist.
Television, movies, games and comics also play a vital role in the psychology of the child. If he watches a lot of brutality, he may tend to act it out. Limit the time and type of programs he watches. Encourage him to watch productive programs suitable to his age. Although I don't watch television often, recently I have been watching some serials and was quite surprised that most of them were centered around scheming women with criminal minds. A very important thing you should do is be with your child when watching television. If there is a scene which you shouldn't want your child to see, distract him by asking him some question like "is your home work complete" and when he is looking at you, change the channel. If he insists to watch it, firmly tell him that it is not right for his age.