Goodbye To ‘Do As I say, Not As I Do’

It’s 2017, do as I say, not as I do is no longer valid.  Just in case you haven’t received the memo, I am here to let you know, children are not having it.  I am certain any of you reading this can recall a parent, grandparent, auntie or uncle pointing their finger at you and warning ‘do as I say, not as I do’, following some notion from you that you were merely following in their footsteps.  When I realized that every time I looked behind me or to my right or left my daughter was mimicking my every move, I had an epiphany and a lesson in accountability.  I instantly knew that my reminders that began with “do this..” or “don’t do that..” would be no match for her earnest efforts to copy everything I do.


The examples we set for our little ones now will not only inform their current behavior but will also serve as the examples they follow one day when they leave the nest and begin to raise their own children.  When we tell our children to behave in one manner but we fail to follow up with examples, we leave too much open to option and interpretation.  If responsibility is what we want to instill in our children, it is our responsibility to showcase this attribute by engaging them in this area.  For example, when we say, “pick up your toys from the floor,” we can provide a healthy example by making sure we clean up behind ourselves as well.  This results in a win-win scenario, magically — or not so magical at all — the kids learn to be responsible, they learn accountability, and the house is clean!  Do this long enough and there will come a time when you will no longer have to actually say the words, “clean up behind yourself.”


So don’t be upset with your child when it seems they turn a blind eye to your demands to be polite, do their chores, read, and any of the other healthy habits we could all agree are for their own good.  Before soliciting the help of child experts or resorting to discipline, run to the nearest mirror and ask yourself, “Am I providing an appropriate and healthy example which aligns with the things I want my child to do?” If the answer to this question is no, don’t fret my dear, you can turn things around with a little quality check and hopefully a few adjustments. Unless there is a serious underlying issue, chances are leading by example will serve as the fundamentally simple fix.  I’ll fill you in on a little secret, our kids are proponents of empirical evidence :).