As parental proverbs go, this first one is a perfect step. I think we all can look at examples of being able to learn from our parents. However, this also means that we, as parents, should be instructing our children. In this post, we will look at this Proverb.
Proverbs 1:8: “Listen, my son to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
Not As I Do
I think the biggest stumbling point for many parents is areas they are not proud of past actions. We seem to have an incredible fear of being seen as a hypocrite. Thus, we shy away from discussions about things like smoking, drinking, and drugs if we did any of those in our youth. This attitude is the wrong one to have. We are not perfect. Fortunately, our mistakes can be as useful in teaching as our successes. We are not hypocritical when we talk honestly about our regrets. Including when we think we should have made different choices.
Explain, Don’t Lecture
Teaching is accomplished by passing on knowledge. It is not done through shaming or instilling a profound sense of guilt. We all have our emotional “just go to your room” moments. However, do not let this be your final word. Once you, and your child, have calmed down, talk about why you were angered, hurt, or disappointed by an action.
This applies to household rules as well. Explain why you have a curfew or “disconnected days” or similar rules. The more a child is trusted to understand about house rules, the more likely it is to get them to “buy-in.” This buy-in is how rules get passed down from generation to generation. When kids truly understand the reason for rules, they are more likely to embrace and adopt them in their lives.
We Can All Learn From Our Parents
Unfortunately, we do not all have great parents. However, that does not mean we cannot learn from them. It is important to remember that our children learn from us. Thus, if we are regularly showing no respect towards our parents, then our children will do the same. When we discuss our childhood and household rules we should find gems our parents left us. Again, these gems may be how not to parent, but there are likely some positives as well.
We all want to do better as parents than we experienced. However, if we do not at least show respect for what we had then our kids will be less likely to appreciate our attempts at education. The effort we make to learn from our parents will pay off for our children and generations to come.