Loving by Leading: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

NOVEMBER 25, 2019

When adults in a research study were asked, “What did your parents do to teach you good values and good character?” their answers were varied. Some mentioned their parent’s love, their high expectations, their firm dis­cipline, and their wisdom. But, the most common answer was, “My parents set a good example.” It is a daunting realization for young parents that the results of their parenting efforts are mostly determined by their modeling. Actions do speak louder than words, especially with children. When parents purpose to model the character qualities that they expect from their children, the children are more likely to “catch” those qualities. On the other hand, no parent is perfect, and even foul-ups can bring a positive result. For instance, with emotional outbursts, if parents ask forgiveness of their children, they repair the relationship and set a good example for children when they lose their temper.

When parents model the same moral standards they are requiring of their child, the conscience grows stronger. However, parental hypocrisy under­mines the conscience and its internal influence upon the child is weakened. For instance, if violence between parents is modeled in the home, a child will likely adopt this same behavior as a means of problem-solving, even though his conscience may have initially caused him to feel some guilt. The “con­science seed” must be fertilized, watered, and pruned as it grows in order to assure its fruitful development. This is accomplished, in part, through the observation of healthy parental role models.


Trumbull, DA. Loving by Leading: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy and Responsible Children. 2018; pp 27. ISBN 9781732659810

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