Our actions as parent speak so much louder than our words. Effectively teaching kids lessons about what’s important and getting them to value the right things is a tricky mission to execute. While it’s only natural to want to raise kids who are compassionate, kind, mindful, love to spend time playing outdoors, and care about the planet, that’s often easier said than done. As many parents know, the second you tell your kids to do something, they often want to do the exact opposite.
Instead of trying to control your child by using traditional forms of discipline like timeouts, consider that if you put that time and effort toward building a strong connection with your kids, they’ll be a lot more likely to listen to you. “When a child has that connection with you, they sense how much they are loved and respected by you,” explains clinical psychologist Dr. Genevieve Von Lob
Child psychologist Bobbi Wegner adds that when it comes to parenting lessons, there are few things more valuable as a parent than developing the ability to listen. “I think parents spend so much effort teaching and providing life lessons, but quite honestly, most of those are tuned out,” she says. “The best way to be heard by a child is to listen as a parent. Act as a consultant who thinks through problems and issues with kids rather than top-down dictating. If you want to teach, then prepare to listen.”
Whether it’s a meditation practice or a habit of making the bed every day, kids learn when they see certain practices modeled. So practice what you preach. “If you want your child to be resilient in the face of failure, let them see you mess up, and use the moment to show that it’s what you do after that counts,”