Kids learn how to interact socially by watching and imitating others around them. They are like sponges soaking up acceptable and unacceptable kinds of behavior. The examples set by their parents, older siblings and children around them are the most powerful influences when it comes to shaping a child’s behavior and personality. One of the quickest ways children learn is by copying what others do. If mom and dad do not treat each other with respect, the child will observe, learn, and most likely copy this type of behavior. If adults in the house are constantly shouting, behaving violently, excluding or discriminating, the children will learn and model after this type of behavior. I’m sure we all want the best for our kids and wish to share the love that either we had or in other cases, didn’t get when we were growing up. However there is hope, if adults treat others with kindness and patience, children will quickly start learning and modeling this example. Most importantly, if parents treat each other with love and respect, their children will learn and ‘replay’ these qualities in their adult relationships.
For the most part, children will naturally mimic what they see and through pretend play their imaginations will flourish and they will develop creativity and character for the many years to come. At times, we may not be aware that our children are watching us; but this is just another reason why we should live every moment of our lives intentionally, especially when around our kids. Children need us “parents” to step up our roles and be the godly influence we have been called to be. Always remember that it is never too late to apologize to your children, and it is never too late to make things right again. “His mercies are new every morning“. When it becomes hard, just fix your eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith. In him, we have the grace, love and forgiveness needed to be the type of influence our children need most.
Jon and Yanis