Kids mimic. There’s no way around it. The old saying “Do as I say, not as I do” was just what our parents told us when they realized they were setting a bad example. Kids will always follow the example we set, instead of doing what we tell them they SHOULD do. And if we manage to get them to “do as I say”, as soon as we turn our around they’ll revert back to following our bad example. They’re kids, they mimic, it’s what they do.
It’s actually a good thing that they mimic. It’s how they learn. But it can be inconvenient. It makes us reflect on our own behavior. We need to be mindful of and carefully choose our actions, habits, and outward expressions. The example we set for our kids is more important than most of us want to admit, myself especially. This applies to pretty much everything we do. As our kids grow, we are creating their “normal” and shaping their perspective. If we yell and scream frequently or are over-reactionary because we are having a bad day or are generally unhappy with the direction of our own life, unhappiness and hostility becomes normal to our kids, whether they like it or not. If we project confidence, are genuinely happy and open-minded most of the time, and remain positive in the face of challenges, they see that as normal and they develop behaviors that mimic that. Ultimately, we are likely their greatest influence in life.
I’m not a bad role model for my kids, but I have to admit I wouldn’t always want them to “do as I do”. That is something I am working on and strive for more consistency in my own attitude and life choices. I want to model success and happiness in the hopes that it will significantly shape my kids’ lives for the better. I want to give my kids every possible advantage in life. I want their normal to be extraordinary. I can make that happen. It’s all just about choices, really.