What do our children see?

When it comes to knowing our children, we think we know our children inside out; we knew them as babies, and we understood their uniqueness and had a sense of who they truly are; we have studied everything about them with all their characteristics and unique flavour’s. Do we ever wonder what it is that our children see when they look at us? We are so used to considering our children from a parent perspective that we don’t often consider what they are looking at. 

They have most likely watched our every move and learnt what makes us tick. I am sure we all wanted our children to think of us as strong, organised, fun, loving, responsible, reliable and caring. However, if they have been watching our every move they may have seen a ‘do as I say’ and not ‘do as I do’ pattern of behaviour.  They know very quickly where our double standards are, know when we have an ‘off-day,’ know when we lose it and they know when we don’t tell the truth. We can’t get away with anything – that is a killer. There is no putting the family on a ‘no chocolate’ diet if we are chewing chocolate like it’s going out of style. There is no point becoming upset about the mess they make of their bedrooms or any space they use, if our own spaces are not kept in order and tidy or if the inside of the car is a mess, or even if we are a mess.  We may think we are ‘on it’ as parents but they don’t miss a trick. Equally they know when we are awesome, inspiring, beautiful and incredible  It’s a fact that we are modelling a way of life for our children to see and are role models who provide a blue-print for them to copy at any time. So what is the magic for us here?

If they are looking at us – let’s give them something to look at 😎

  • We can build standards for ourselves and how we live in our family giving everyone confidence in the consistency of the routines and rhythms.

  • We can nurture ourselves and care for ourselves, ensuring self-care is not considered selfish but the way to have capacity to support others without burn out.

  • We can live a work ethic that is second to none by enjoying our work and showing commitment or engaging in changing the situation till we can bring that to our work.

  • We can respect and honour ourselves in our interactions so they see and feel the importance of that in all relationships regardless of who it is with.

  • We can communicate with decency and respect so they hear what that sounds like in activity.

  • We can learn from each other that life is always about learning so we don’t always have to be the 'model'. Just when you think you have learnt everything, you realise you are just at the start of your learning!

What happens when we do this?

We give our children a blue-print to live with for the rest of their lives, one that will be the foundation they develop in their own lives. We may not see things magically change overnight, but it can be a blue-print for living. 

Our potential as parents is to role model through our activity ​what is possible in our relationships in life.

Further reading

Role modelling from the inside out

Short term respite versus long-term goals

Trust and truth in families