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Are You Teaching Wrong Things to Your Children?

Updated on March 15, 2017

When asked by an interviewer if he is not oversimplifying things, Dr. Phil responded by pointing out that he even faced accusations that whatever he uttered was nothing but common sense. For such accusations, he quipped, “Golly, that’s great. Do you mind if I use it as a testimonial?” In other words, according to Dr. Phil, the greatest teachers are those who apply common sense even to complex issues in order to simplify them. If you are parent, your role does not stop with parenting. You have to perform a teacher's job as well. You must more particularly play the role of a good teacher.

Especially, when your children start growing up and are in the transition phase of becoming adolescents, there are chances that you may have to use common sense at every step.

Remember that you are and have been the first teacher of your children. This means that when your children were small kids, you would have taught them a number of things. You would have taught them to put the toothpaste on the toothbrush, brush their teeth, not to waste water, to behave properly and talk the right things, especially when strangers are around, and so on.

But there are many more things your children, especially in their in-between phase, learn from you without your intentional guidance. They may already be facing the onslaught of insecurity, ambiguity and uncertainty during this transition phase. On top of these, when you become oblivious of the common-sense approach and involuntarily teach them all the wrong lessons, it can turn out to be a potent brew for more trouble for them. Let us look at some of those wrong lessons you may teach them.

1. When you take your children to school and if you start late from your home, you may tend to drive your vehicle so fast that you may cross the permitted speed limit. Though you may succeed in reaching the school on time, you may have taught your children that crossing the speed limit is no big deal. Even if you have been issued a ticket for speeding, your children may think that receiving such tickets is quite normal.

2. Things you utter within your home may also teach wrong things to your children. For example, if you talk ill of others or if what you speak consists of racial slurs, etc., your children may also learn those behaviors. It may not be your intention to teach them these things but you will be doing so unintentionally.

3. Using the cell phones while crossing the roads or when you are driving is wrong. But if you commit these mistakes in the presence of children, how can you advise them not to use their cellphones while driving or crossing the roads?

4. If you speak lies quite often, you cannot expect your children to talk truth because you are the person who has taught them this habit.

5. Similarly, if you use drugs or drink alcoholic beverages in front of your children, you cannot impress upon your children that they are not good habits and that they may harm their health.

On the contrary, you can teach good habits also to your children. Let us find out how you can do it.

1. if you help an ailing person, your children will also learn that it is good to help those who are suffering.

2. Volunteer to help your mother or wife in her household chores. This will help in teaching your children that they should respect women and should volunteer to assist them in their chores.

3. If you speak only nice words about others, your children will also learn to look at the positive traits in others. This will help them develop cordial relationship with everyone.

You may think that you must be perfect for teaching good habits to your children. This is certainly impossible but there is nothing wrong in making all possible efforts not to teach wrong things to your kids. Remember that your children always look upon you as their role model. Therefore, you should run every behavior of yours through the sieve of your children.


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    • Tim Kacillas profile image

      Tim Kacillas 

      20 months ago from Anchorage, AK


      You've written many great lessons to be had, but I would argue that your examples are, for the most part, already common sense. I think the primary goal of parenting is showing our children the big picture. This, of course, is my own opinion, but I like to show my kids the why behind things, not just behavior and consequences. The 'why factor' can be explained to the youngest of children with their own level of common sense. You're example of driving too fast; yes, showing your children that driving too fast can result in a ticket and you shouldn't do it, even if you're running late. Let's break this down a little more though. Explaining why you're late and telling your kid that it is unsafe to drive fast because it raises your risk of an accident will teach them, not only, that while operating a vehicle it is important to consider others on the road, but also that it's critical to plan ahead and be sure to have enough time to get to where you're going. It could be as easy as 3 sentences, "Remember when you threw a fit and wouldn't brush your teeth? Now, we are going to be late for school and I can't make it any faster because I have to drive safe. If I drive too fast and a car pulls out in front of us, I might not be able to stop and then we might crash into them." If a child is old enough to understand all of that, they will understand that crashing your car is bad. To really bring the lesson home, you could follow up with, " then, we might get hurt! and we might hurt the people in the other car and we don't want to do that!" then your child really knows why you can't speed. Overall, I like what you've said, I just think we, as parents, should look deeper for even better lessons. Keep up the good work!


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