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?