The Power of Modeling Behavior

We’ve all heard the expression “if you don’t ask you don’t get”. I think it’s vital to teach children how to ask for things, and I believe this is successfully done through modeling. When the parent asks for things in a respectful way, the child gradually learns how to ask. This is an important behavior for your child to learn, and should start when they’re young!

Instead of giving demands or commands, instead of telling the child not to be disrespectful, simply model a better way they could have expressed their request.

The only reason children don’t express themselves in a more respectful way is because they haven’t been taught how to ask for something politely. We don’t need to correct them, we just need to demonstrate what works. As parents and mentors, it is our job to teach them.

John Gray, Ph.D. writes in his book, Children are from Heaven, “Children need to feel free to ask for what they want, knowing that they will not be shamed. Even if it’s not expressed perfectly, they should be respected in return. They also need to know that just because they ask, it doesn’t mean they’ll get what they want. The way they ask should not be the reason a parent says no.”

And because children are indeed from heaven, I happen to be reading a book by the human potential speaker and award winning author, Marianne Williamson, and I felt compelled to share this lovely prayer she offers in one of the chapters of her book, The Age of Miracles. If you resonate to it, my suggestion is to replace the words “those who are younger than I” with my child / children.

Dear God,

May I be worthy

of an honored role

in the lives of those who are younger than I

Show me how to use your gifts well,

And how to pass them on.

Amen

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