“Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.” -Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
Brené Brown wrote a beautiful Parenting Manifesto called Whole Hearted Parenting which outlines the many ways we can teach our children through example. Parenting is a vulnerable process and we teach our children about the world by how we live in it.
We teach through action and through being.
The words we tell our children are important, but what is even more important is what we model for them. If we want to effectively teach our children important life skills, we have to demonstrate them.
Show them the kind of person you want them to be by being the person you want them to become.
No one is perfect which becomes unavoidably obvious when you are a parent. Thankfully, perfection is not the goal in parenting.
Parenting almost always involves navigating new territory and sometimes fumbling your way through. But it is also about growing and learning from those new experiences. You and your child are learning together how to find your way through a constantly changing dynamic relationship.
Parenting by example is about showing your child your imperfect, authentic self as you persevere through the uncertainty of life. It’s about owning your own mistakes and having the courage to try again when you mess up; it’s about learning from your failure. It’s about being open to the process, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Being open to the process, especially when it’s painful will help your kids learn that experiencing adversity is part of life and we cannot let discomfort dictate our behaviors. We have to face the struggle and hold on to what is truly important.
Part of this process is simply staying engaged as a parent. We stay engaged as a parent when we are open to learn, when we are asking questions and being curious. We stay engaged by mindfully paying attention to our thought processes and patterns of responding.
It is easier to stay engaged if we are mindful of our values – notice the things that are deeply important to you as a parent and let that be your guide. Your children will learn your values by watching you live them by example.