January 21, 2012

Parenting Tips Modeling vs. Mentoring Kids

Have you ever consciously considered what you are modeling to your kids as you’re parenting them? Children are very susceptible to modeling-  the copying of behavior without understanding the thought process behind the behavior. Children need mentors. Children need to be equipped with life skills to handle the complexities that are inherent in each of our lives. If you are simply modeling, without mentoring, you are not equipping your child with the powerful skills they need to deal with life.

Mentoring is not just words. I mean with your actions. How do you deal with your child–is it with an open-mindedness? What type of energy do you bring into your interactions with them–is it kind and thoughtful? What bias or prejudice do you carry that you model to them? And is this that what you really want your legacy as a parent to be?

When we are parenting, we have the most direct influence upon our children, but only for certain times in their lives. Later, they move through adolescence and start to become independent–their friends and peer groups take this position over. Can you let your child go through this normal developmental process and still be a mentor to them?  A lot of parents can’t.  But we can always be a positive influence in our children’s life whether they are 4, 14, 24 or older. Just as the greatest athletes continue to have coaching throughout their lives, we can continually mentor our children to equip them with life skills and powerful, empowering belief systems which help them to experience more of life, rather than less.

Think about this the next time you take an action. Are you modeling honesty and integrity? Are you modeling the joy of life or depression? Are you modeling curiosity and intellectual expansion or are you modeling a close minded and limited belief system?

What kind of life are you living? Remember, it doesn’t take money to live an expansive and joyful life, nor does having all the money in the world mean that you are going to be necessarily kind and open-minded. Whatever your life situation you can make it great when you decide to.
Everyone says that they want to live a better life, but a better life means taking powerful and empowering actions. It does not mean modeling ineffective behaviors or limiting belief systems. If these are the methods you use to deal with the world you are doing your child a disservice. Break the pattern. Break the pattern for two reasons. One, you will be doing yourself a huge favor by learning to embrace more of the good qualities in life. Second, you will start to model for your children behaviors that will empower them to live a happy, healthy, and joyful life.

By Don Nenninger

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