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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do "The Rules" Apply to Parents?

Hypocrisy? Or perks of adulthood?
Some of the toughest parenting advice to follow is "model the behavior you want from your kids."

Or in simpler terms, your kids will do what you do. They are more likely to be LIKE you than to LISTEN to you. 

This is based on the scientific theory that children are perfect mimics who will instantly absorb whatever you show them and repeat it without question. Good & bad. 

Basically, that means if you want your kids to say please and thank you then you must also say those words to them.

If you stub your toe and shout "F*ck!" then guess what Junior is going to shout the next time he stubs his toe?

Polite language is an easy one for my husband and I to model. We're super-polite.

Screen time is our weak spot. We both spend a lot of time in front of computers and iPhones. I'm not going to do any time estimates, but it's a lot. 

We're not so addicted to our tech that we don't do anything else. In fact we're both very active, athletic people. He's running his second marathon in a month & I just set a new personal record in the 10 mile! 

We love the idea of our kids copying us when it comes to running, trying and enjoying new foods, traveling, and being compassionate people. But there is one area where we don't let our kids follow: screen time. We try to limit the amount of screen time our kids have. There's a lot of evidence that too much screen time can lead to obesity and behavioral problems in kids. (There's also a funny comedy sketch I can't find that describes how kids behave when the TV is turned off.)  Yes, our kids have access to tech like our iPads and even a "kids computer" that has parental controls set to limit usage to 1 hour a day. 

When our 4 year-old was home sick with a fever, he called my husband out on "too much screen time." My husband said that rule doesn't count for dads. I found this conversation between Dad and son especially funny because this is our kid who frequently says he wants to work with his Dad when he grows up. This modeling thing is pretty powerful stuff!!

What rules do you have that apply to kids but not Mom and Dad?


  1. I heard this in a sermon. A woman was driving with her young child in her car. Another driver cut the woman off. She yelled "Stupid idiot driver cut me off!" The child said shouldn't we say a prayer for that person. The mother said yes. The young child said a prayer, "Jesus, forgive the stupid idiot driver."

  2. My mom called a driver an idiot while she was driving and my younger brother, probably 4 years old at the time asked her if she was ever an idiot when she drove!!

  3. I am right there with you on the screen time. I spend FAR TOO MUCH time on my computer. That's because after working all day, it's the only way I have to grade my students' online work and to get any of my writing and blog reading done. My 18 mo son who has speech problems because of his stroke in utero LOVES to watch Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and while we let him watch some most days, it's not on all the time all day. We make rules that they can watch a show and then must play or read a book. Well, my 18 mo just loses it when we won't use the remote to turn on the TV. I worry about him. He loves it too much!

  4. It's love/hate isn't it? Almost 100% of my income comes from work in front of a screen. But I also use it for entertaining my kids, and I don't just mean the TV. Last night I was doing this surprise activity for them (photoshopping some of their photos to make a cool art project) and my 4 year old says with a haughty tone, "Don't let your brain turn to mush." Thanks kid.