The Mini-Me Effect of Parenting


My kids are definitely mini-me versions of my wife and I.  It is one of the joys of parenting, seeing a small person who looks just like you and/or your spouse.  On occasion we’ll pull out our childhood pics, and ask the kids “who is this?”, and most of the time they’ll say “me”, or name one of their siblings.

That is pretty cool, and as a dad I must admit it is one of the best feelings!  Physical looks are not the only area where the mini-me effect takes place.

Our children also become mini-mes of our habits, our behavior, our communication, and even our character. [Tweet this]

That can be a scary thought, or it can be a comforting thought.

Is parenting the same as cloning?

This week my wife and I were having a conversation about some frustrations we were having with our kids.  Some frustrations in regard to lazy habits, frustrations with homeschooling, and what is causing them.  That same day, I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Michael Hyatt.  The post is titled Leadership and the Law of Replication.  It confirmed some of the realizations I had, and the root of our frustrations.

Our actions speak loud

In the post, there were points comparing the actions of leaders in the corporate world with the people who are following them.  No matter what is said, the people following are more inclined to do what they see, rather than what they are told.  A family is not much  different, and a family leader is not much different than a corporate leader.

If you take a look at your own habits, behaviors, and character traits, you will see a mini-me:

  • Do you respond by snapping when someone interrupts you?  Your kids may possess that same sharp tongue.
  • Do you leave papers, magazines or work in places it shouldn’t be?  Your kids will leave their stuff laying around as well.
  • Are you constantly face in an electronic device?  Your kids will do the same with their devices, games, or TV.
  • Do you speak to your spouse and your kids with respect?  If you do, then they will speak to you and others the same.
  • Do you spend more time watching TV than reading or attempting to learn new things?  Then learning and schoolwork will be secondary to entertainment for your kids.
  • Do you honor your word and the commitments you make?  If you do, then your kids will do the same in their relationships.

Family leaders are self-checked

I have found that being married and being a parent is one of the biggest character checks you can have.  You will grow as a person when you are married with kids.  You have to!  If not, you will be constantly reminded of your issues.  These reminders may come in the form of your spouse telling you, or you witnessing your very own mini-me.

I don’t know about you, but I want to look at my mini-me and be reminded that I am heading in the right direction.  I know I will never be perfect, and neither will my kids, but we can be improving.

Allow yourself to learn from your mini-me(s)

As a parent, especially as a dad, you are the leader of your family.  You probably want to be the best family leader you can be.  The best leaders in general learn from others, and they learn from the people they are leading.  Pay attention to your kid’s habits, their behavior, and how they talk.  You may see some things you don’t like, but you will definitely learn something…about yourself.

Then you can begin to make changes, and really be proud of the mini-me you created.

Question: What do you notice (good or bad) in your children that you know they learned from watching you?  Please share in the comment section below.

photo credit: Brother O’Mara via photopin cc

Feb 20, 2013