You know, the classics.
But one of my favorite mantras (or parenting philosophies, if you will) is carried over straight from my college writing classes:
SHOW DON’T TELL.
Not only is it an effective technique for storytelling, but also for living. For life! Because these kids aren’t just listening to our lectures and directions, they’re watching our facial expressions, our emotional responses, our language choices. They see how we handle anger, for instance, or how we speak to our parents.
I see it all the time — like the stern “mommy look” that he mirrors back at me when he’s feeling frustrated, or in his mini-me mannerisms. And they learn it all by simply watching what we’re showing them, as if we had a blueprint for proper and normal behavior.
They’re absorbing more of what we show than what we tell, and it’s the only metric of “normal” that they know. Somewhere along the line, all of these absorbed social cues become their default setting.
So what are you showing them? Watch this disturbing parenting video:
It seems to be a good rule to not say something, do something, or behave in a way that you wouldn’t want your child doing.
Be the person you want your child to be.
Because odds are, they’ll become it.