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Parents Need to Be Role Models in the Art of Parenting

Parenting can be overwhelming for new parents. When my daughter was born, I read a lot of helpful articles on parenting and children.

The Essence of Parenting

The Essence of Parenting

The Essence of the Art of Parenting

A father said to his son ‘Be careful where you walk, the son responded-‘You be careful, remember that I follow in your footsteps’. Does this quote suggest anything to you?

Yes, to me it triggered the awakening to think of what it means to be a parent. The responsibility we as parents carry. In fact, this quote underlines the very essence of the art of parenting.

Now, what does this mean?

The parents are under the watchful scrutiny of their children. Yes, children are observe their parents minutely, their actions, their mannerisms, their attitude, their behavioral responses, how they relate to each other, how mom treats dad, how dad treats mom, how mom and dad behave with each other in society under different situations, the list is a bit woe too long.

What does this mean?

Our children by observing us, imbibe those behavioral traits and morals that we parents display before them. There is no point in parents telling their children what to do and what not to do, how to respect, behave if the parents themselves do not follow these traits. If either of the parents does not respect the other, then children grow up with these negative and repressive impressions etched in their subconscious mind. These impressions evoke responses from them under conditions conducive to such negativity.

That is why we often see the son whose father is an abusive husband, disrespecting his mother as he grows up and later on in his marriage, treat his wife abusively and disrespectfully. Why is that so? That is because as a child he has witnessed his father treat his mother that way and he has imbibed the same quality which sadly can last forever. Further, the father expecting his son not to drink by preaching to him not to, when he himself is an alcoholic has a negative impact on him.

Well done is better than well said

— Benjamin Franklin

The Saying ” It is easy to give example, but difficult to become an example”

So, it is important for parents to not just give examples but to become exemplary in their acts and behavior. The punch line for parents here is to ‘walk the talk’.

Parents advise their children to exercise, limit screen time but they themselves often lead sedentary lifestyles watching TV and using computers excessively which is a bad example for them. Parents should be role models for their children by following healthy living by eating properly and exercising regularly which will set a good example for them to follow. The same goes for other values like kindness, positive attitude, discipline, self-control, and respect for others.

I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was the first of books; It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same question which exercise us.

— Ralph Aldo Emerson

Message of the Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita is an important spiritual scripture of the Hindu philosophy. It has the spiritual wisdom of ancient India and its message and essence are relevant even today.

In fact, the same message echoes in Verse 3.21 of Chapter 3-Karma Yoga of the revered Bhagavad Gita:

yad yad acarati sresthas
tat tad evetaro janah
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate’


Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.

Well, this interpretation of such wonderfully inspiring teaching, say is at the microscopic level. The basic interpretation being ‘charity begins at home’, thus driving home the point that parenting is to be done by becoming an example, as children follow in the footsteps of their parents.

The quote” You be careful, remember that I follow in your footsteps” by the son to the father fashions the art and manner of parenting.

As aptly quoted by a swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung “children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk”.

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Fragile! Handle with Care

We have often seen printed on boxes and cartons carrying glassware or crockery Fragile! Handle with Care! But have we ever paused and thought even for a second that the same instruction applies to children in the art of parenting? They are fragile, sensitive and we need to handle them with care and sometimes firmly, without disturbing or sabotaging the beautiful world they live in, created by their innocent minds.

It is Not an Easy Task

No doubt, it is a tough task and we often tend to lose our cool and shout at our children which can hurt them as their minds are sensitive. They can decimate things in their curiosity which can cause irritation to the parents. But we must remember that by allowing them to be curious we are also letting them learn new things on their own.

When he sees you lose your temper, the child develops the feeling that it is ok to throw tantrums, cry and cause trouble to get what he wants.

Parental Role Modeling

The young, innocent totally vulnerable minds of children are easily influenced by whatever they see around them. If we can help children by influencing their thoughts and guiding them in a positive way, they will grow up to be happy and successful in whatever they pursue in life. This gave rise to the concept of 'Parental Role Modeling', where parents impart values in children by themselves following moral and ethical behavior. This not only helps children develop good values but encourages the parents to better themselves.

Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement, and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent.

— Bob Keeshan

Tips for being a good role model for your child

1) Encourage positive thinking in children by practicing positivity yourself. For example, the family had planned a picnic and it rained, tell the children, never mind let’s bake a cake, make popcorn at home and watch a comedy movie on TV. The child may be stressed about a test in class, about a fight with a friend at school, talk to him about it, and help him develop an ‘I can do it’ attitude.

2) Model the characteristics that you want to see in your children, values like compassion, kindness, truth, confidence, and, resilience. Parents need to follow them consistently. When parents make mistakes, they ought to admit them, say sorry and find solutions to them and strive to do better. This sets a good example for children not to be disheartened by failures but strive to improve.

3) Every child has his or her own strengths which the parents and educators need to bring out. They need to motivate and hone their skills and talent in the right direction. Be it singing, writing, enacting, or sports. Parents need to involve in activities that interest children and guide them.

4) A positive attitude is the key to success in life. Children who grow up in happy, positive homes reflect the same attitude in life and are more confident, self-sufficient, and independent. By role-modeling these types of thought patterns and behavior yourself, your child will follow and do the same.

5) They always copy what they see, so make it a point to follow all the rules that you want your child to follow.

6) Visualize successful outcomes with the child, like the joy of getting good grades after a test, the proud feeling of learning something new, etc. Tell them stories from your own childhood and how you overcome obstacles and achieved success with dedication and determination.

7) Children’s personality, values, and characteristics are formed during their early years. Parents who invest their time and effort in their children during these years will be rewarded with wonderful teenagers and adults later.

For more tips on how to build discipline, self-sufficiency, MQ, EQ in children:

The best way to make children good is to make them happy

— Oscar Wilde

8) Children develop confidence when they achieve something. By giving them small tasks to do daily, like watering the plants, taking the pet for a walk, helping in household chores, and don’t forget to praise them for their efforts. This gives them a sense of accomplishment and helps build their confidence. Your disciplined routine will motivate the child to follow their routine consistently.

9) Encourage curiosity, to ask questions, encourage them to learn from the natural surroundings. Your habit of writing a journal could inspire them to write. Putting pen to paper is a good way to de-stress.

For more on the benefits of children's connection with nature please read:

10) Ask them about their day, what they did at school, encourage them to talk freely. Dinner time should be exclusively for positive discussions when you converse on how your day was, problems you resolved, the appreciation and accolades you received for your good work, etc. A nurturing atmosphere at home makes children feel safe, secure and loved. They grow up to be confident and value relationships

11) Communication is important. When the parents listen to their children and encourage them to share their fears and concerns with them, they build trust in them and children feel loved and respected.

12) Children are intuitive and can sense put on behavior, so don’t overdo the parenting. Being simple, honest, and straight forward is the best option to follow.

13) Parents should not make unpleasant remarks about others behind their backs, in front of children, otherwise they will not learn to respect other people.

Final Thoughts

We all want our children to grow up with good values and good behavior and be successful in the world. We strive a lot to give the best to our children, the best education, the best advice, the best amnesties in life but often forget that our behavior has an important role in shaping their personality. Parents are the first teachers and home in the first school for children. The easiest way to raise children who are confident, positive, and strong is by the parents being committed to these values and being good role models to them. We need to make changes to our own outlook and habits in order to be good parents.


Original 1972Bhagavad-gita

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.



VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 25, 2020:

Thanks dear Anita, for the visit and for your kind comments. Writing is my passion and I love sharing helpful, self improvement tips in my articles on Hubpages, that I come across with my friends. I really appreciate your encouraging comments.

Anitha N Rao on October 25, 2020:

It's a very good article regarding art of parenting. Keep writing Vidya.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 23, 2020:

Hi Chitra, thanks for the visit and for the comments. I am so glad you liked the article.

Chitra on October 23, 2020:

Vidya, I loved the article on parenting. Beautifully written. Keep writing.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 22, 2020:

Hi Sridhar, thanks for the visit and for the comments. Yes, the message of the Bhagavad Gita is timeless. Its teachings are relevant today as much as it was in the Vedic times. In their hectic life, parents find it difficult to give attention and time to children which is what they need most in the formative years. A loving nurturing atmosphere where children are given the freedom to follow their passion is more important. This can never be replaced with gifts and presents. Parents need to guide kids appropriately and ensure that they do not fall into bad company. As you said I also believe that much love cannot spoil a child but lack of it can cause untold damage to sensitive minds.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 22, 2020:

Hi Jyotsna, thanks for the visit and the encouraging comments. Today parents strive to raise good kids. What you say is true, parenting is an ongoing process. We have always sought our parents' advice when the going gets tough even after we have grown up and had children of our own. That is parenting like learning, it never ends.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 22, 2020:

Thanks, Shweta for the visit and for the comments. You are right children are the inheritors of this planet and carve the future of humanity. A fair and positive society can flourish only when our children grow up with good human values which the parents, educators and caregivers of today can ensure.

Shridhar Kaikini on October 22, 2020:

Vidya, once more a brilliant article on a very important topic of Parents as Role Models in the art of Parenting. Erudite that you are in your writing, but you also make it so simple and lucid, that the whole exercise becomes an enjoyable and educative read!! Could not have been better!!!

Starting with the wonderful quote that formed the trigger for your writing, it is indeed an enlightening journey through the revered teachings of our Bhagavad Gita, thus enunciating the resulting punch line for parents to "Walk the Talk"... Great writing!

Amongst the so many educative tips that you have listed in your article, what touched me the most is your emphasis that parents need to invest time and space for their children, that result in happy homes amid positive atmosphere, that go a long say in the proper upbringing of children. Yes, children need space and time of parents, or else they run the possibility of going wayward! As Anthony Whitman so aptly quotes: " Too much love never spoils children. Children become spoiled when we substitute 'PRESENTS' for 'PRESENCE'!! "

Yes, this can be the sad undoing when parents start showering presents and gifts on their children to make up for their absence! This does not help, rather the children get wayward and spoiled in the process! So Vidya, well made point that it is both necessary and imperative for parents to INVEST THEIR TIME FOR THEIR CHILDREN ESPECIALLY IN THEIR EARLY FORMATIVE YEARS

Jyotsna Nadkarni on October 22, 2020:

So aptly said & v v well written. Yes its so true we are what our parents are & this is like a rossarry chain does not stop @ a relation. Thanks for reminding since parenting is an on going process even when our kid is a grown up. The relation of parent-child does not end! Thank you!

Shweta Ugrankar on October 22, 2020:

Very well written and yes I agree we have to set good examples to our children as they are the ones who carve the future of humanity. If children learn to be a good and positive we will have a livable society which is very much needed now!

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 22, 2020:

Thanks Smita for the visit and for the comments. When I came across that quote, I remembered how this art came naturally to our parents. They dint have to struggle to bring us up with good values. They just embodied those values and we followed and came out strong.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 22, 2020:

Thanks Ramesh for the visit. I appreciate your comments. I am so glad that you shared the article with your son and daughter-in-law. it will be useful to the young new parents.

Smita ugrankar on October 22, 2020:

Usefull and beautiful contents you have emerged in this article Vidya.,

Ramesh Madhyastha on October 22, 2020:

Useful and well covered article on parenting with thoughtful tips as role model parents. I passed the article to my son and daughter in law who are the new parents

Thanks for the article, please keep writing

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 22, 2020:

Hi Peggy, good to see you, thanks for the comments. I appreciate it very much. To lead by example should be the aim of all parents because young children are very observant, they mimic what they see. By exemplifying good values, parents can bring up good kids.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 22, 2020:

Thanks, Pamela for the visit and for the encouraging comments. Young children are like wet clay, they can be molded by the parents as they wish. By practicing the values that they wish to see in their children they can raise wonderful kids and break the myth that parenting is a tough nut to crack.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 22, 2020:

Hi, Shweta, thanks for the visit and the nice comments. I am so glad you liked it. I hope some of the tips are useful to the new young parents, who find it difficult to manage both the career and raise kids.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2020:

Your tips about good parenting and being role models for their children hit the mark! There is an old saying: Actions speak louder than words. That is so true!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 22, 2020:

I think you suggestions for raising your child are excellent. I agree that we are role models for our children as they will copy our actions. I think your list of tips is very thorough and parents would do a better job by following them, Vidya.

Swetha santosh on October 22, 2020:

Wow Amazing

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