Do You Want Your Children to Be Like You?
By Margaret Paul, Ph.D
There is an old saying regarding children: "Do as I say, not as I
do." Whoever coined this phrase didn't know much about children.
Children often do not "do as we say." We are the role models
regarding how our children learn to treat themselves and others. We
are the role models regarding whether or not our children learn to
take personal responsibility for themselves – physically,
emotionally, financially, relationally, spiritually, and
Do you avoid responsibility for your own feelings with substances,
activities, or with shaming and blaming behavior toward yourself or
others? Are you always late and is your desk a mess? Do you eat
poorly and lack exercise? Are you always in major credit card debt?
Do you lack a relationship with a spiritual source of love and
If you want your children to be on time, then you need to be on
time. If you want your children to be healthy and fit, then you need
to be healthy and fit. If you want your children to be honest, then
you need to be honest. If you want to raise happy and peaceful
children, then you need to role model how to be happy and peaceful.
If you want your children to have high self-esteem, then you need to
learn to treat yourself and them with kindness and caring. If you
treat your children with caring and respect, but your children
experience you shaming yourself and treating yourself as if your
feelings and needs are not important, there is a good chance they
will learn to disrespect themselves as well.
For example, Martin grew up in a family where both of his parents
were high achievers and made tons of money. But his mother was a
highly judgmental woman and his father was always unhappy and
worried about something. Is it any surprise that Martin does well
financially, yet is constantly judging himself and others and is
often agitated over minor things?
Angie grew up with a mother who was totally devoted to her. In Angie's
mind, her mother was the ideal mother – kind, compassionate, and
always ready to listen to Angie and help her with her problems. Her
hardworking father was also a kind and caring person. Yet Angie has
a hard time taking loving care of herself. She ignores
responsibility for her own feelings, does not feed herself well, is
often judgmental toward herself, and has a hard time getting things
done. She is constantly seeking out a man to fill her up and make
her feel worthy. How did this happen with such loving parents?
While Angie's parents were loving to her, they were not loving to
themselves. Angie's mother used food to avoid her feelings, and was
always giving herself up to please others. In addition, she could
never quite get organized and was always late. Angie's father spent
his life working hard and using the TV to avoid his feelings.
Neither of Angie's parents role modeled personal responsibility for
their physical and emotional health. Angie was shaped far more by
how they treated themselves than how they treated her. In fact,
because they treated her so lovingly and treated themselves so
unlovingly, Angie grew up believing that it was others'
responsibility to love her and fill her, rather than her own
responsibility. She grew up being needy and demanding, rather than
Do you want your children to be like you? As a parent, it is very
important to take a look at what you are role modeling for your
children – not only regarding how you treat others, but how you
treat yourself. If there are certain values that you want your
children to have when they grow up, they are far more likely to have
your values if they deeply respect you. And they will not respect
you if you do not treat yourself with respect. It is highly
important, if you want your children to be happy, healthy, and
personally responsible, to be a role model of happiness, health and
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books,
including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?" and
"Healing Your Aloneness." She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner
Bonding healing process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her
web site for a FREE
Inner Bonding course or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone Sessions Available.