A common hope as parents is that our kids will do well in high school, go to college, and get an education so that they can compete in the world in which they live. Although this hope is logical, sometimes we are not as logical when it comes to passing this hope on to our kids.
Love and logic teaches that one of the most powerful teaching techniques for parents to use is modeling. We model the behaviors that we want to show up in our kids. So if parents come home from work at night and complain about how horrible their day was or how much they don’t like their job, the message their child will get is “working sounds awful. I should avoid it if I can.” Your kids may even think, “Why should I go to college if I am just going to end up hating what I do when I finish?”
Instead of sending these messages to our kids, wise parents model how much they enjoy their jobs and how grateful they are that they went to school so that they could do what they wanted to do for a living. This principle was demonstrated wonderfully by a young married man who attended one of the Love and Logic classes. The man was visited by his younger brothers; both of whom were not yet teenagers. When this man came home from work one day, one of his brothers asked him how his day at work was, the man thought for a few seconds and responded, “I had a good time at work. I really like my job. In fact, I am so happy I went to college so that I could do the kind of work I like.” The two of them then talked about something else and continued on with their day.
What a great teachable moment! Modeling really is one of the most effective teaching techniques. When parents are excited about learning new things and share that excitement with their children, their children are more likely to be excited about learning new things. If parents enjoy what they do for work and share that enjoyment with their kids, then their kids are more likely going to think that work can be enjoyable.
Shiloh Lundahl, LCSW, is a child and family therapist in Gilbert and Mesa, Arizona. He is the founder of Parent Arizona and Counseling Services and is part of the Arizona Family Institute.
He provides parenting classes using the Love and Logic curriculum, classes for parents of children with ADHD, step-parenting classes, and advanced trainings for foster and adoptive parents. He also provides in-home therapy in Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Chandler, and Tempe, Arizona.