I think few people would disagree that children learn much of their life skills from their parents. From parenting, to work ethic, to spousal relationships, to personal finance, the most important things in life that children learn are those taught by the example of their parents. That isn’t just a broad opening statement, it’s truth born out of years of investigation by researchers…and from parents and grandparents who witness it every day.
I’ve been thinking lately about what my children are learning from me because as a parent, I AM a model for my kids. But it’s my choice whether to model good behavior or bad and my example, much more than my words, will leave a lasting inheritance with my children.
When it comes to parenting, much more is “caught” than “taught.”
Children react to the behavior of their parents in two ways: they will either model their parents behavior in some way or they will react to it and behave in the opposite way. If your parents bought a new car every two years, chances are you feel the same pull. If they paid cash for everything, you probably will find it difficult to justify credit purchases. If your parents always ate a Sunday meal out, you may do the same.
But it also works in reverse. If you were always forced to wear hand-me-downs, you may be now inclined to ONLY purchase new clothing. If you never (or rarely) were allowed to go to a restaurant as a child, you may be averse to home cooking in your kitchen, preferring instead the perceived glamor of eating out.