I believe that every interaction that we have with our children we are teaching them something, intentional or otherwise. Now, maybe that something is that they should clean their room or maybe that something is that when you would like someone to complete a task (such as...oh I don't know: cleaning their room) the most effective way to do so is to yell and scream and get all huffy. I know you're probably thinking that is most certainly not the best way to get an individual to do something. But, if you review, I never said that the things we teach our children are always going to be correct. Therefore, it is crucial that we live the kind of lives we expect them to live; no more of the "Do as I say, not as I do."
I also believe that how we interact with others (our children included) effects their sociability. If we are constantly setting and example of patience or otherwise, I believe that our children will either follow suit or always live in a manner that is reactive to their experiences. For example, a child that is constantly being yelled at for one thing or another could grow to easily loose their temper with others or may also grow to shy away from people in anticipation of being at the wrong end of a temper tantrum. I'm not sure that anyone want's either for their child.
I firmly believe that the most important skill we can teach our children is how to make good choices. My biggest goal as a mother is to raise children that can go out into the world and succeed. I don't mean that I expect, when I'm through, they'll get every promotion or have a 9 figure income. What I mean by succeed is that they will live a happy, well-adjusted life in which they can clearly decide between good and bad, good and better, and better and best. I want my children to CHOOSE the best. Someday when Ian is all grown up and living on his own he is going to have to make some choices. Some of these choices are going to be hard, and I'm not going to be there to forbid the wrong decision or force the right one. So while he's here, in my care, I'll do my best to equip him with what he needs to face those challenges. I'll help him to practice making decisions and living with the consequences for better or worse.
With that said, I know there will be situations that he'll want to make a poor decision and there will be times when he doesn't realize how severe a consequence will be. In these rare times parents ought to decide on their behalf. I suppose the challenge here is knowing when to intervene and when to let them chart their own path.
MORAL OF THE STORY
Good parenting is acting intentionally.