I noticed something about my son who is now 5 plus. He watches with keen interest most of the things we do at home. He has done certain things I am noted for and I do not need to ask "where did he get that from?" So, the slogan in my home is "whatever you will not want him to do, do not do it in his presence."
The younger sister too (now a year plus) is following in his steps. The other day she (then 8 months plus) attempted to open the glass shelve with one hand while holding a DVD in the other hand. She was obviously attempting to play the disc just as she has been seeing us do.
No doubt, this is very common in every home. Our kids watch and take after us, if not soon, later in life. A child who grows up in a house where the parents are always quarrelling and fighting is watching keenly. Such a child will most likely imbibe the attitude of aggressiveness, malice-keeping and fighting, even over very minor issues. When he/she gets married, a replay of what used to happen back at home is quite certain.
Our children are watching everything we do - our dress culture, the kind of friends we keep, groups we belong to, movies we watch, places we go to, the way we walk, the way we talk, our comportment, attitude to life and work, likes and dislikes, the way we eat and even the way we sleep. For a father who is used to night clubbing and sleeping out, a free ticket to sleeping out and constant night clubbing has unknowingly been given to his children. In fact, sleeping out becomes a way of life. I know a boy who took to alcoholism because "my dad cannot stop me because he is a born-drunkard!" I think it makes a lot of sense. In fact, they are consciously or unconsciously watching and learning from our life styles!
How does a parent go about cautioning the child when he/she is neck-deep in the same practice? How does a father (or mother) who is a known robber or fraudster "make noise" when his child is caught in such acts? Can a mother who does not see anything wrong in nudity caution her daughter for the same act? Would it be morally right for a chain-smoking father to raise alarm if he catches his child sniffing cocaine or using any other hard drug?
As we see, parenting requires a lot of care, caution, responsibility and role-modelling on our part. Children are fast learners, especially as it relates to what they see around them. We should be able to reprimand our kids without a feeling of guilt and we should be able to help our children deal with bad and unacceptable behaviours without someone telling us to deal with ours first.
My prayer is that God helps us in the arduous task of training up our children in the best of ways so that they will not become sources of pain and mockery to us. Before you do the next thing, think about what your child is wordlessly saying to you, “I am watching you!”
Thanks for your time.