No matter what their age, your children are watching you.
They’re watching and they see everything.
The see how much time you spend on social media and watching TV, how you react to other people in your life, how you eat your meals, how well you tidy up after yourself and how you juggle the many demands in your life. They take in your attitudes, your manners, your work ethic and your self-discipline. They observe your capacity to forgive, your self-confidence and your gloom. Everything.
They hear pretty well too!
They hear how you talk to your partner, your family, your friends and your neighbours. They hear when you criticise politicians, the police, countries or races. They hear when you run down other people behind their backs, what you say to the driver that took your car park, and the white lie you told the police officer about why you were in a hurry. They hear how you say it too: your tone. They hear your silence too, when you pause and listen attentively.
There is no escape. Your child is watching you and listening to you.
And they’re watching others in their life too. They’re watching relations, peers, teachers, friend’s parents and the characters on TV. So, while you play the major role, others play their part.
Now, here’s the interesting part. While they’re fixing their stare (and their ears) upon you they're taking in all the pieces they will use to build their own personalities as they grow. They’re taking on board what they witness, and it really matters to them. Even though they don’t know it themselves, they are processing and reaching conclusions about the correct way to live their lives.
Nobody is perfect. The best any of us can do is accept that it’s our job to show our children the way to live their life, and to do it best we can. We owe it to our children to pay attention to our own actions and to make sure we're defining a life we want them to strive for.
What we say and do makes a difference.