When Good Parents Set Bad Examples

Your words say one thing, but your actions say something else. Here's the best way to teach your child values--and keep your message straight. Plus take our revealing quiz to see if you could be setting a better example.

Introduction

Every parent I know believes it's important to be a good role model for their children. Most of the time, moms and dads succeed at this--but not always. Sometimes we unwittingly demonstrate the very behavior we want our kids to avoid.

I'm not talking about the obvious bad examples that many of us are guilty of setting from time to time--like when you scream at your 5-year-old to stop yelling at his little sister. Those mistakes are made in a moment of frustration, and good parents realize right away what they've done wrong. I'm talking about the more subtle ways we unknowingly sabotage the lessons we hope to teach. Here are five common scenarios.

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