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Are You a 'Do as I Say' or 'Do as I Do' Parent?
Parenting has always been a very emotive subject. As parents, it is perhaps the most important job we will ever undertake, and yet the approach to parenting can be so diverse and divisive in opinion.
We are bombarded with information on the 'good' the 'bad' and the 'ugly' parenting stories resulting in triumphs or disappointments. Of course, nobody sets out to do a bad job in the parenting department but unfortunately with so much conflicting advice it's not surprising many parents struggle to keep it together.
Whenever I hear complaints such as; "My child does not respect or listen to me” it immediately raises the following question. "Are you a do as I do or a do as I say parent? I strongly suspect that most parents will claim to be a bit of both, but in reality it's usually predominately one or the other.
So what's the difference between a 'do as I say' and 'do as I do' parenting approach?
Do as I Say
The 'do as I say' parent is keen to establish themselves as the authority figure at all times. As the rule maker, payer of bills and food provider, it is only right and fair that the child/children should look to them (the parent) for guidance and leadership. However, the challenge with this approach is that children have a habit of following examples of behaviour rather than the command of words. Therefore, if what a parent 'says' is inconsistent with what they 'do' this creates conflict.
As a parent, you can hammer home the message of 'what I say goes' but if you do not adhere to your own advice, what real hope do you have of convincing another to follow suit? Sadly this situation can breed animosity and a lack of respect towards the parent.
Of course you may have some success in getting your child to comply with your rules but there comes a time when that child will question your own conviction to applying those rules. The do as I say approach can work well on some levels, especially when a child is young and impressionable but is not the most effective approach to parenting as the child grows and develops their own ideas.
Do as I Do
The 'do as I do' parent likens themselves to a coach and approaches the role of parenting as a teaching by example exercise. The leadership is clear and well established but without the standpoint of the parent always being right. You see, the do as I do parent believes he or she is on a journey, just like the child they are directing and so the parenting assignment is as much about learning as it is about teaching. Do parents sometimes fail? Yes, a do as I do parent will openly admit to making mistakes and encourage the child to learn from them. The do as I do parent is a good listener and welcomes feedback from the child.
When a parent leads by example, there is less effort spent on lecturing or trying to convince the child to follow. The parent only needs to focus on setting the best example possible, in the hope that their actions alone will speak louder than words. As parents, we can warn our children of negative lifestyle choices like, addiction, bad debt, broken relationships, unhealthy eating, poor hygiene and lack of exercise or we can show them by example how to live a better alternative lifestyle. rather than just tell the child " You can do and be anything you want to be", the parent will show the child what's possible.
The fastest way to lose credibility as a parent is to not back your words with action. Your child may listen less to what you say but will be watching you closer than you think. So before you lay down the law and demand total obedience and compliance, remember to do as you say and be the great example they need to look up to.
I wish you Happiness, Health and Wealth!!!
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