=As a father of 3 boys and someone educated as a behavioral psychologist, I can tell you without any reservations that children emulate their parents. They will treat and interact with others the way their parents do. They also learn a great deal about how to communicate with others by the way the parents interact with each other.
The critical years
The critical years are birth through age 9. It is scientifically proven that by the age of nine a child will have developed 80 percent of their value system. That is who they will be for most of the rest of their life. Of course, that is altered by significant adults such as teachers, coaches, and other family members who have contact with our children.
For instance, I will never forget that when my boys were very young, I was the “dad,” the guy that my boys looked up to and would obey. Mom would spend most of the time with them and would always guide them to what was right and wrong. But I had the louder voice and less patience, and they always listened to me. Then they started kindergarten, and there was Mrs. Smith (yes, that was her real name). One day when they came home, I told them about something, and they both looked at me and said for the first time, “Dad, Mrs. Smith said this.” Well, I was stunned. I have them as my children for several years telling them what was right and wrong. Now suddenly a teacher who they knew for less than six months was the ruler.
It’s on us
So as you can see children are very impressionable at that delicate age. Things like self-esteem, self-confidence, social skills, caring, kindness, self-control, discipline, and respect are all a learned art and a challenging task for parents. The people our children will be for the rest of their life is very much on us.