The best motivators for change are our children, and heres' why - they're the best people to mirror our own behaviors back to us - especially if they are young, and are with us the entire day...save interactions with siblings and their other parent.
Allow me to explain with a story:
Before I began this journey into connected and understanding motherhood, I did not realize how deeply I affected my children. I was under the impression, that if they did or said something unfavorable, that all I had to do was tell them to stop, and that that would be it...until my behavior came back to me. My then 3 year old, was doing something with her sister (they were playing with a toy or something) and as I walked by them, I asked them, "what are you doing?" The response that I received was "none of your business!" Ouch! To say that I was taken back my this, does not explain it. It hurt my feelings. I was sad. Sad and hurt, because she talked to me like that. Now, my first reaction was to be angry. How dare she talk to me in that way? Why? I just asked her a simple question. How could she?...all of these things crossed my mind...and then I remembered that she heard that here. No. I don't remember when. I was probably talking to someone, or on the phone, or whatever, and didn't want to be bothered - and she heard me or daddy say it. Boom. Right back at me! And you know what? I didn't like it.
Now it's easy to say, hey you don't speak to me like that. I am your mother, you shall respect me, and all of that other stuff...yeah, it might work in the meantime, but what about her siblings, or another child, and they ask her a simple question, or want to know something and she's cranky or moody, or whatever, and they happen to be in her space in that moment - how do you think that she'll react with them when they ask her, "what's are you doing?" Guess what? It's probably not going to be in a very pleasant way.
You see, it's been said for a long time, that children don't do what we say, they do what we do...this right here folks. This is where the gold is, and this is where the magic happens. This is where we have to put on our big girl panties, and learn to react and behave in the ways that we want them to behave. Trial through fire. Learning and growing through not so pleasant experiences, and having the courage and love to try a different way.
After this, I wanted my children to start to communicate better with each other, and have courtesy for one another, and guess what I had to start learning? Yup. How to treat them with courtesy, and have better communication with them.
Now, I am not saying that they learn EVERYTHING that is unfavorable from us, but they do learn to react in the same way that we do, because it is what we model that they pick up...
You see, the thing is that we always hold the key to help them learn another way, but it does start within. We can only always start with ourselves - because nothing else is permanent. Learning to parent in a different manner than we learned - or in a way that may not be natural to us is hard at times, but it's the only way that we can grow. So, next time, that your child does something that you want to react to - remember two things: 1) they are watching and 2) your learn and grow into a better you through challenging yourself to see a different way. You are worth it, and so are they.