The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as: ‘a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others’. The important words here are behavior and imitate. I am amazed by how much of my behavior my child imitates, even though he is now 21 years old! When I look back on the years spent raising him, I was not aware of how my behavior was being ingrained in him. So let’s look at some instances when it is possible that your child is imitating your behavior and you might not be aware of it.
Monitor your behaviour
My favourite is always behavior in the car. Over the next week, take note of how you behave when your child is in the car with you. Are you calm and in control, or are you raving at the person who just cut you off? What speech are you using? What body language are you using? Do you throw your bag in the boot, or do you place it in the boot? Do you take phone calls while you are driving? Do you have a hands-free kit or do you try and balance the phone between your shoulder and ear? What behavior are you showing your child while you travel in the car?
Are you showing behaviour you want your child to imitate?
How about when you are eating a meal – do you eat with your mouth open or closed? Do you speak with your mouth full or wait until you have swallowed? Do you balance the plate on your knees in front of the television or do you eat at a table? Do you apologise when you mess something on the table or interrupt others while they are speaking?
Your child is watching you all the time and how YOU act is how THEY will act. Let’s do a behavior check on ourselves before we tell our children that we don’t like their behavior. After all, they could be imitating us!