"Do as I say, not as I do"

Jacquie - posted on 09/01/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

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A fight in my household growing up has resurfaced in my married household. I'm not entirely convinced on either point.

Do you follow the rules you make for your children to set a good example? Or do you adopt a "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude?

Is it disrespectful for the adults to have to follow the same rules as the children? Or is it a healthy learning tool for the children?

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[deleted account]

Haha, Ladies! I must have been pretty tired last night :P That's not exactly what I meant though. I understand the stuff they are just not old enough to do yet, but then, I don't consider that phrase to apply to those things because eventually, I will be telling them to use the stove etc.

I was looking for an example of rules that would apply to both children AND adults--something I would tell him to do or not to do simply because it was not good for him, or just shouldn't be done, weather he is an adult or a child...Like, I wouldn't smoke, then tell him he shouldn't; or eat ice cream for breakfast then tell him he should eat fruit; yell at or hit him, then tell him not to yell or hit people.....stuff like that.

Jodi - posted on 09/02/2010

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LOL Loureen :) That's why they don't sell half blocks of chocolate. Sneaky buggers KNOW we will eat it all!!!



But I absolutely agree with leading by example. i think, being human, we all slip up. But I don't see the point in telling the kids they can't do something if I am allowed to get away with it.



Besides, you have NO IDEA what my daughter is like. I swear, she keeps count on EVERYTHING. If I did something 3 years ago that I have told her she can't do, she remembers, AND she would be counting how often I did something I shouldn't do.....I truly believe that........Believe me, it is easier just to lead by example anyway, than have your 5 year old give you a lecture :)

Charlie - posted on 09/02/2010

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I agree that as adults we can enjoy adult things like a glass of wine , when i say " lead by example " i am talking about rules of the house and how we conduct ourselves not everysingle little thing like mummy uses a chainsaw so can kiddies thats just silly , and Jodi i dont stop at half either !

Kate CP - posted on 09/01/2010

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Things kids are not allowed to do that I do:
bring home stray animals
use the oven
use bleach
walk large dogs

Krista - posted on 09/01/2010

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I'm pretty much with Kate on this one. My kids will need to know that there are some things that adults are allowed to do that children are not allowed to do. That being said, the basic house rules of respect and helpfulness need to be adhered to by all parties in the household, in order for it to work. I can't expect my son to pick up his socks if my husband and I are always leaving ours laying around, right?

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Johnny - posted on 09/03/2010

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Oh yes, I do. I have a problem with it when it's used to justify parent's being irresponsible or acting like asses rather than just to describe certain things that kids, no matter what, just should not be doing, but that adults need to do.

[deleted account]

While I do agree with you, Carol, do you not think that A LOT of parents/adults use that saying or attitude to excuse they're bad behaviour instead of just trying to set a good example?

Johnny - posted on 09/03/2010

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When it comes to behaviour, decorum, manners, etc. I think that the saying applies. I expect myself and my husband to emulate the respectful way that my daughter is asked to behave. And we discipline in ways that show her respect, that is an important part of our household set-up. But there are plenty of things that we do that she can not, simply because of age and experience. She can not just "go outside" whenever she wants, she must go to bed when we say it is time, she can not drive (no matter how much she wants to), she can not drink alcohol, she can not touch the stove or the knives, etc. I encourage her to 'help' in as many areas as is possible, which I find leads to her behaving better. When I give her a goal and a direction, and a chance to do like mommy, she is excited and engaged. So to me, that phrase is simply a safety & age-appropriateness issue.

Jacquie - posted on 09/03/2010

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I keep getting on my hubby to stop eating kettle chips before dinner, and not drinking pop by the gallon, all while telling our eight year old she can't. Telling her not to be lazy while most of HIS chores remain undone while he plays with his phone. Don't get me wrong, my husband is a GREAT guy who works hard for us, and loves the girls and me, I just feel as literal as she is, he is opening us up to a lot of power struggle. My parents were like him. I was like her. I resented my parents for years for telling me things like "You can't eat in the living room." all while munching on popcorn, sitting on the couch. My parents said that they had earned their right as adults to do what they wanted.

I try to lead by example, although I am not as good at this as I should be. I swear more then I would like to. I stay up late. Other than that, I try to lead by example- I eat healthy, say my prayers, try to exercise, I read a lot, I am courteous to others etc. I just didn't know if there was an actual argument for what my parents and my husband do.

Sharon - posted on 09/03/2010

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Kelly - I can't think of one of those. I've been treated like absolute shit by sales people and I've thrown major tantrums. Well, major for a public place anyway. I've gotten louder and angry - and once threw something at someone - my kids weren't there to see it.

My kids can do anything they want to - but they have to accept the consequences of their actions. There are rules and if I break them, then I get what I get. Same for them. There is no mercy. I don't forbid my kids to get angry - they're entitled to their emotions but overreacting and throwing things is inappropriate. I don't regret throwing the 5 pints of strawberries at the clerk. She was a lying bitch who was having a bad and taking it out on me. Well I didn't throw the container AT her, I just flipped it open and smashed them on the counter in front of her. She did get hit by some of the strawberries. But still my kids weren't there and won't ever see me do that. I probably COULD have been charged with assault if I hadn't had proof of her lying. If I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have gotten instant response from the manager. I would have had to wait while they found them, called them to the deli, then waited again while the clerk freed herself up. Instead, everything was solved in a matter of a minute. A reciept from the day before proved the SAME clerk had indeed rung me up for 5pints of strawberries at the same register. She was claiming she couldn't do it and wouldn't even try the sku/barcode. I'd been in line for 40 minutes already waiting for my cheeses and sliced meats - no way in hell was I going to main row of registers for 5 deli items and one produce.

Anyway - I expect my kids to use their best judgement. I keep them honestly informed and if its simply my opinion I say so. If they change their minds or have a different opinion - they are free to express it later in life after they've moved out of my house.

I wonder if I stayed on track with that crap... sorry.

[deleted account]

Actions speak louder than words....lead by example.I go mad for example because i dont smoke..my partner does and my children see that.I can teach them its not nice and you wont be healthy but there watching daddy.You walk in to see the five year old pretending to smoke like daddy.Actions speak louder to children.My motto is lead by example..you wont go wrong..trying to over come this craze with the five year old pretending to somke..it breaks my heart and i think it got to her daddy to..could be the straw that broke the camels back for him to quit ..fingers crossed.

Tara - posted on 09/02/2010

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I don't believe in the do as I say not as I do mentality. We lead by example when it comes to most everything, especially our interpersonal relationships as well as how we act with other people outside of our family.
There are things that we as adults are able to do that they can not, but that isn't saying do as I say not as I do. It's just safety, the kids know we can drive, use the chainsaw etc. not because they aren't allowed but because they are not old enough to be allowed yet.
But when it comes to behaviour, language, respect etc. it is always our example that they will follow regardless of if we tell them to do as we say not as we do. So... in the light we always try to set a good example.
:)

C. - posted on 09/02/2010

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Well, my son's only 2, but I TRY to follow the same rules as far as language goes and what is on the television when he is in the room. I DO think it is a healthy learning tool for the children if the parents follow the same rules, but at the same time- they're adults and can do whatever they please.

It's something that has also followed me in my married household. But a lot of it, I have to say, is my husband. He feels that he is an adult and should be able to watch and say whatever he feels like watching/saying. I understand that, but at the same time I think it would be better if both of us stayed mindful of what we do in front of our son and whatever children we have in the future.

Jessica - posted on 09/02/2010

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I think you have to find the right balance with this. For e.g., I ensure that my son wil always cross the road at the traffic lights/designated crossing area wherever possible. In this situation I lead by example.

When I have a nice cold beer at the end of a long day, It is Do as I Say, Not as I DO.

It is unfeasible and unrealistice to hold an extreme view on this as there are some things that children CANNOT do full stop that adults CAN do and quite enjoy from time to time.

Another example would be sex. I like sex, and just because I have a child doesn't mean my partner and I should stop. We would NEVER however, condone my son to have sex at the age of 2, 5, 7, 13 etc. till he reaches an appropriate age and maturity level.

Becky - posted on 09/01/2010

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My husband and I actually disagree over this a lot! Not over the saying, but over actually following through on the whole "leading by example" thing. My husband yells a lot, but then gets on our son when he has tantrums. I'm like, "uh, who do you think he learned it from???" I'm always getting on him about his language and tone of voice in front of the kids.
For the most part, especially on big things, yes, we have the same rules - no hitting, apologize when you hurt someone, no name calling/swearing, etc. But of course, there are exceptions, like others have mentioned. My kids are 1 and 2. They make huge messes. Therefore, they are at the table when they eat, always. My husband and I will sometimes eat in the living room (although for snacks, we eat meals all together at the table). That's just one example of where things differ. Although maybe they shouldn't there, because I can make as much of a mess as my kids sometimes when I eat! lol!

Jodi - posted on 09/01/2010

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My kids are never allowed to eat a full block of chocolate, but I am pretty sure I won't stop at half :P I just don't do it in front of them, LOL.

[deleted account]

Yeah...I'm currently eating a bowl of ice cream in bed when I told my son he could not... oops :)

Meghan - posted on 09/01/2010

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I am a huge believer in lead by example BUT there are adult things that are not acceptable for children to do...period. There are mommy words, mommy "juice", mommy's snacks, bedtime, bath time...etc

[deleted account]

My Dad would say this and it usually was about swearing & smoking. Both of which I have/d big problems with...I quit smoking when I was pregnant w/my 1st born, but I have one hell of a potty mouth! So that little saying just didn't work for me! Therefore I do not use it in my house!

Katherine - posted on 09/01/2010

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I too hate that saying.
Perfect example: Spanking your child for hitting you.
It's all about discipling IMO. Gently prod them in the right direction.

[deleted account]

I HATE HATE HATE the saying, " Do as I say, not as I do" but it probably stems from hearing my dad say it ad nauseum growing up. I actually started the exact same thread a couple months back.

Krista - posted on 09/01/2010

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Do not drink beer.

Do not touch the kitchen knives.

Do not drive the car.

Go to bed at 7pm.

Sharon - posted on 09/01/2010

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Do not use the stove.

Do not shave the dog.

Do not attempt to use house hold tools.

just a few.

[deleted account]

We follow the same rules we have set for our son, with the only 2 exceptions being bed time and drinking alcohol.



Just curious, what is an example of a rule that would apply to a child that an adult would not follow? I hope that doesn't come off as rude, I just can't think of anything that I require my kid to do, that I wouldn't do, or anything I would prohibit him from doing that I would do, so, just wondering :)

Sharon - posted on 09/01/2010

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For the most part we follow the same rules. I respect my kids, I want them to respect me. So far its working. there are exceptions, there always are.

Kate CP - posted on 09/01/2010

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I always got angry with my parents if they got to break a rule that I was punished for. I try not to make rules that I can't adhere to myself. But there are certain things that are understandably adult activities and not for kids (bed time, certain movies, amount of TV or computer time, etc) and we do our best to explain that to our daughter.

[deleted account]

For the most part I follow all the rules that I expect my children to follow. Especially in moral issues. If I screw up, they know it's because I'm human and made a mistake... not becuase what I did was ok.

Obviously there are things that I can do that they can't...like drive, but I won't do something that I don't want them to be doing when they reach whatever age/circumstance it is appropriate to start doing that thing. :)

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