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To think children don't always follow the example their parents set them?

(24 Posts)
betweenmarchandmay Wed 04-Feb-15 19:53:43

I am thinking of this in terms of being a role model.

Isn't it the case you can be a great role model and your children still choose a totally different path to you? I'm nothing like either of my parents, and it confuses me when people say 'you need to do X to set an example to your children.'

Obviously you try to guide them but is it really so bad to admit to them you made mistakes?

BiscuitsAreMyDownfall Wed 04-Feb-15 19:58:02

I am nothing like my parents. They are very much the type to save before children, save before big purchases, strive to buy a house, get a good career in a proper profession.

I have got into debt (now nearly paid off), live in a council house and applying for shop work. I also have tattoos which they hate. I took up smoking in my late teens and probably still would if DH was a smoker, but he's not (his parents both are/were since they were 15)

youbethemummylion Wed 04-Feb-15 20:02:07

This is true. My DH comes from a family where living off benefits is a lifestyle choice, low level crime is used to supplement their benefits, drug taking is a daily occurrence and children are discouraged from going to school. DH is nothing like this he rebelled by getting an education and a job despite his parents disapproval.

SnowWhiteAteTheApple Wed 04-Feb-15 20:22:10

Depends on the example set, not all have the same ideas re life choices.

Both DH and I have mainly followed the examples set. Both work, neither smoke etc. The only thing I have really done different to my mum is to ensure I was married before having children.

Will DS copy us? I hope so as we try and ensure he has good role models. He knows I hate smoking, heavy drinking and tattoos so hopefully won't do those. If he takes anything from it I hope he has faith that both partners can work, parents and run a house. I don't want him to believe the old fashioned view that only men work.

Tinks42 Wed 04-Feb-15 20:36:29

Im a single parent and haven't particularly achieved academically. In my day, being working class, it was all about getting a job.

I do however "encourage" my son to gain qualifications and he is achieving good grades in his "A" levels.

Secondly, I have always worked and he has seen this.

Most of all Im a firm believer in social skills, providing a stable secure home life and promoting emotional well being. I won't bang on about how this should be achieved when bringing up a child. Suffice to say he is now 17 and Im a very proud mum.

I would however never live my life through my child and his happiness is tantamount whether he smokes, decides to drop schooling or whatever. As long as he is happy then that's fine by me.

geekymommy Wed 04-Feb-15 20:37:22

Of course they don't. But I'd bet that doing X to set an example for your kids is more effective than telling them to do X while you do Y instead.

Say you have smoked at least once in your life, and you don't want your kids to smoke. I think there's probably a difference between a parent who used to smoke and tells kids not to smoke, and one who is still smoking while telling the kids not to smoke. I suspect there's also a difference between parents who periodically try, even if they fail, to quit smoking while telling their kids not to smoke, and parents who just continue smoking but tell their kids not to smoke. The former just feels more sincere, and kids can smell insincerity. (I suspect the latter is better than just smoking and not telling your kids anything about smoking, though) I have absolutely no data to back any of this up, just my gut feeling.

TwoOddSocks Wed 04-Feb-15 20:38:54

Well it's a case of likelihoods rather than certainties.

If you sit in your living room binge drinking every evening your children are more likely to drink heavily when they grow up. If you have loads of books in the house and they see you reading for fun they're more likely to pick up reading themselves.

Children aren't born blank slates though siblings brought up in the same environment can turn out very differently. You can influence them but you can't determine exactly how they'll end up.

Altinkum Wed 04-Feb-15 20:45:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

betweenmarchandmay Wed 04-Feb-15 20:46:31

In a way geeky but I have never smoked and my parents both did when I was very young, although they did manage to give up.

They both talked to me a lot about how they wished they hadn't started but the dangers weren't known in the 1960s and how difficult stopping was. I honestly think seeing them struggling was a more powerful message than "don't smoke!" although obviously I am not going to start just to give that message to DCs!

I don't work but I don't think staying at home means either of my children will. My mum always worked and I don't.

fluffyraggies Wed 04-Feb-15 20:47:10

I find this subject very interesting actually.

I think it's very complicated.

I have personally known people who have actively rebelled against their perfectly lovely upbringing simply because it was expected that they would do X, Y Z, and they wanted to go their own way, and carve out their own path.

And vice versa. Horrid upbringing, but making good of themselves after leaving school.

Perhaps more depends upon how the example is shown. How forcefully the 'this is the way and the only way' message is pushed upon them.

Tinks42 Wed 04-Feb-15 20:59:00

Blimey, is this thread about smoking being the most damaging thing you can show a child.

I smoke, son has always seen me smoke, son has chosen not to. So what?

betweenmarchandmay Wed 04-Feb-15 21:03:29

No, it isn't tinks as have already said my parents smoked but were anti-smoking but feel free to let one post out of eleven be the one that says "what the thread is about".

geekymommy Wed 04-Feb-15 21:06:35

I just chose smoking as an example because my post got too convoluted without a specific example. You could replace it with drinking or eating fast food or having a messy room or staying up late or not going to church or whatever you wanted. Smoking was just a reasonably common example of something parents might do or have done in the past and not want their kids to do.

chaiselounger Wed 04-Feb-15 21:08:32

I don't agree with this living by example. My parents are the most loving caring balanced people. I like to think I too. But they didn't stop me rebelling and drinking and smoking and taking lots of drugs too.
What's wrong with a bit of rebellion!!

For every one that was set a bad example, your'll find many who were set good, and the end result is both good and bad.

I think you'd be lucky to draw any conclusions. And as soon as you do, they'll be someone like me, who just doesn't tick the boxes!!

lljkk Wed 04-Feb-15 21:08:50

is it really so bad to admit to them you made mistakes?

Depends on the mistakes. If I tell DC I did drugs then I'll lose a lot of moral highground in telling them not to. So bit of no brainer to keep quiet on that one, even though I think my experiences actually make me especially qualified to say why drugs are a bad thing to bother with.

Day to day mistakes: it's good to own up to, so they have role models in how people recognise & fix their mistakes.

BiscuitsAreMyDownfall Wed 04-Feb-15 21:08:57

I think tinks is trying to say YANBU (since they posted a scenario of a child not following an example) but in a more abrupt way than previous posters.

geekymommy Wed 04-Feb-15 21:17:11

I don't think there's anything you can do that will guarantee that your child won't make a particular lifestyle choice. An example would be religious parents wanting to make sure their kids don't leave their religion (or it could be atheist parents not wanting their kids to become religious). There's nothing a parent can do that will guarantee that this doesn't happen.

Tinks42 Fri 06-Feb-15 20:18:17

Thanks Biscuits grin

KentExpecting Fri 06-Feb-15 21:25:24

This is a super interesting thread. I often wonder about this in our family. My DH and his XW have 2 children together. DH and XW couldn't live more different lives if they tried - but which one of them will the children see as role models / whose path will they follow? Feels like an experiment in sociology sometimes...

comedancing Fri 06-Feb-15 21:46:03

With us l found our eldest rebelled did the opposite to everything but the other two saw him do that and stayed pretty much like us..nonsmokers little drink education etc..our eldest smokes used to drink a lot dropped out of college..he is now back. I think as l got older l fell more and more into how my parents did things appreciating the good in it. Like they were totally against debt regular savers and l was the opposite. But in recent years l have adopted their ways.

Dizzbomb Fri 06-Feb-15 23:26:17

In my circle of friends almost all are the opposite to their parents and some openly admit they actively strive to be different.

LovelyBranches Fri 06-Feb-15 23:33:31

The old saying is you don't have one like yourself. I've found that to be true, even on little things. My DM is a lark, I am a complete night owl. I work with a really lovely guy, but he's a massive drinker, the 90's ne er really stopped for him. His dd is teetotal, they have a great relationship but just enjoy very different things.

Patsyandeddie Sat 07-Feb-15 01:33:29

Accept the fact that your children are individual! You can guide them but that is it, they will make their own choices, good or bad!!!

paxtecum Sat 07-Feb-15 04:24:29

I know very left wing parents whose children are completely money and status symbol obsessed.

I know pacifist parents whose son went to Sandhurst.

When our children are small we have hopes and aspirations for them but they do often tend to go their own way in life.

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