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HOW has your children’s new school year been? Surviving the first few hectic weeks will always be a challenge. But if we can set a good example from the beginning, we can look forward to a solid outcome for the rest of the year. Here are some of the critical elements that parents should watch out for.

Don’t be one of those overzealous parents who overstay their welcome in the school. Despite being repeatedly told to leave, many often choose to ignore the teachers’ request. Little do they realise that their action is actually teaching something very negative to the children – that it’s okay not to listen to teachers.

This is the “unfortunate” feature of being a parent. I recall a piece of advice given by Charles F. Kettering: “Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.” Hence, we must strive to show our good side in order to set a good example for our children.

Another opportunity to show our kids a good example is when we’re on the road. During the first few weeks, it’s normal to experience severe traffic congestions around the school area. To make matters worse, there are a few who think only of themselves and couldn’t care less if they’re unnecessarily blocking traffic. If we fail to follow the basic traffic laws, without realising it, we’re effectively teaching our kids that it’s okay to be selfish and take other people’s rights on the road.

As rightly put by Kettering, all these can only mean one thing. Whatever advice we may have given our kids about behaving nicely or being patient will not mean much if we, as parents, fail to deliver at the crucial moments. We must constantly check our mood and behaviour, especially when the children are around.


We can use the same concept to instil good manners in our kids too. This means that we don’t just give out instructions; we must set a great example as well. Indeed, children tend to follow what we do much more than listen to what we say.

Consider this scenario: you’re frustrated by loud, noisy children in public places such as restaurants or shopping malls. Worse still, the parents seem oblivious to other people’s complaints. To them, their kids are just being kids and should be left alone to have fun.

I’m all for allowing kids to be kids. But, I also believe they should be taught good manners as early as possible. Yes, it’s great that they’re having fun but when they disturb and upset others, this is crossing the line.

Of course, there are more bad examples. I just hope that we’re not part of the guilty party as well. Ironically, these are the same people who complain a lot about the things that go wrong with the world today. Little do they realise that they’re also part of the problem because they’ve failed to show good examples to the future citizens and leaders of the country.

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at [email protected].

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