Always Watching: Behaviors You May Not Realize You Are Modeling for Your Child

Parents have the most influence on their kids and act as their main teachers. Whatever attitudes and behaviors you exhibit, your child will notice and start to pick up on them. Many parents know this and try to set a good example for their kids. Other parents are completely oblivious and aren't exactly thinking about modeling example behavior. From your choice of words to how you deal with stressful situations, here are some behaviors your kids are picking up from you.

Physical Activity

Your kids are bound to pick up on whatever level of physical activity you exhibit. Parents who care about staying physically active and fit will model the importance of physical activity. Their kids may take an interest in sports or outdoor activities, and their parents will support them. Kids of parents who lounge around the living room aren't likely to have much of an interest or see much of an importance in physical activity. Typically, people who are physically inactive are overweight. Parents who want a more physically active lifestyle for their kids can work to be more physically active themselves.

Driving Habits

Parents drive their kids everywhere for the first 16 or 17 years of their life. Parents who model the behaviors of a safe driver, such as no cellphone use, and obeying the speed limit and road signs, are providing their kids with an example of what they need to know to stay safe on the road. Parents who choose to disregard the rules of the road, allow themselves to get distracted or get road rage and end up passing these habits down to their kids. A concerning number of parents admit to using their cell phones while driving with their children in the car. Even when their kids are taught the consequences of these bad habits, they'll still copy their parents' behavior every chance they get.


Not all parents stay happily married as their kids grow up. Lots of kids witness their parents divorcing and dating new people. They also notice the way their parents behave in relationships and will pick up on that behavior when they're older. If the mother or father is abusive, is dishonest, chooses to be unfaithful, or prefers hooking up, the daughter or son will likely be the same way when they get into a relationship. The type of partner the kid chooses may also be similar to the type of partner the parent has.

These are only a few of the many behaviors that kids can pick up from their parents. Parents who disregard rules in general end up teaching their kids that they don't have to follow the rules. Parents who get in trouble with the law end up raising future delinquents. Parents who are hard-working and disciplinary may end up raising a valedictorian and possibly even an Ivy League graduate. The list can go on and on of how kids can pick up on the behaviors of their parents and copy them. As a parent, you have a major influence on the kind of person your child will grow up to be.

Here’s another article you might find helpful: 3 Major Social Skills Parents Must Teach Their Kids


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