A few days ago, I was driving down the road and felt a tickle in my throat. I drank some water and coughed, but couldn’t get rid of it. I used my rear view mirror as a regular mirror to see if I could see something in my throat. I stuck out my tongue and said “ahh” and then caught a glimpse of my one-year-old daughter in the back seat doing the same thing. Mimicking me to a T. I cracked up, so she started laughing as well. Then this evening driving home, my daughter was being quiet so I turned around to check that she was ok. She was just watching me. Staring at me. Taking me in and, ultimately, learning from me.
Now, for parents who have had kids or have already been through this stage, this isn’t an incredible revelation or new information to you. You know that this is a normal part of development, and babies/toddlers watch and mimic their parents; but what I’ve discovered is that this is not something that stops once your child learns how to do things themselves. You are constantly under your child’s microscope.
I recently asked a number of very well balanced, mentally healthy teens and young adults, “What did your parents do?! How did you turn out so good and so balanced? What’s the secret?” (Part of me wanted to know as a therapist, but a much larger part in me had to know as a mom).
They all responded the same:
- “My parents were consistent.”
- “I watched my parents and they were true to their word.”
- “My parents didn’t say one thing and do another.”
Although, we, as parents, are well aware not to curse around our 16 month old so that they don’t go to daycare and drop the F bomb, are we as aware that our 16 year old is watching how you treat your spouse? Or yourself for that matter? Even if you think your teenager wants nothing to do with you, I PROMISE you, they are still paying attention. They are watching your every move and learning how to live life and using you as their guide.
At Orlando Parent Coaching and Resources, we want you to eliminate the statement, “Do as I say, not as I do” and start to live out a life you want your child to see, mimic and be proud of. You are not perfect, you never will be, and that’s okay. When you own up to your imperfections and work on them, your teen will want to do the same, and will respect you even more for admitting to being human.
If you are struggling with your teen’s behavior, family conflict, or parenting issues, Orlando Parent Coaching and Resources at Life Counseling Solutions can help.
Call today (407) 622-1770 for a free consultation or to set up an appointment.