Children learn what they see in their parents. They develop their inner moral compass, and their inner character, which will be their guide when nobody is watching, by what they see their parents doing, when nobody else is watching. Your children are surely watching, trust me, and it shows as they become adults in who they are, and what they are able to accomplish in life, and/or overcome. It will show in the health and happiness of their relationships, jobs, and social abilities. It will show in their lives by whether they are happy, balanced, and grounded by those things so fundamental that they learn in developmental years, without any manipulation of any drug or substance, or not. It is the time of teaching what is right and wrong, and the difference between what is right, and what is wrong. If children see their parents disregard the rules, and the laws, and have no genuine consideration, or respect and regard for others, they learn to do the same. If they see their parents take advantage of others, they learn to do the same.
I cannot imagine sending the message to a child to break a law, or to disregard a rule or law, especially my own. I cannot imagine teaching my child that it’s okay to take something that does not belong to them, or to receive something stolen, or deception in any fashion. I cannot imagine having anything in my home stolen! Anything! I cannot imagine housing up with a man who steals from his employer, or from anyone. I would not feel safe with a man like that. I must feel safe in all of my relationships. You create a mess, sometimes a monster, in human beings who make it to adulthood when you demonstrate to children that those behaviors are okay. Society questions and turns their nose up to what happened to someone that made them drug addicts, or alcoholics, or door mats. It starts in developmental years.
It is not okay to gossip either. It is not okay to be racist. It is not okay to hold others to a standard you are not willing to hold yourself to. If you pay attention to the body language and behaviors of children, you can observe many things about the adults in charge of them. I am always paying attention.
I pride myself in doing what is right, no matter who you are. I hold everyone to the same level of accountability, unless they have a diminished mental capacity. I also consider things circumstantially. Certain circumstances can change a person, some for the better, others, not so much.
I love what Dr. Phil says. Past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior. We all fall short, and need forgiveness in life as humans sometimes. However, when a person has behaviors repeatedly that are risky, criminal, with a blatant disregard for others, that is not a mistake. That is a dangerous person, and you better be paying attention to them, especially where there are two or more of them in a group.
What do you teach your children to do when nobody is watching? Do you teach them to be a bully? Do you teach them love, or hate? Do you teach them respect, or to disrespect. Do you teach them to do what is right? Do you teach them to include others?