MamaBlogger365 – Actions Speak Louder Than Words? By Kate Fineske, NAMC

I am the first to admit that I have some bad habits.

For instance:

  1. I often need time to process change. (I have bad first reactions, yet many times my first reaction does not always reflect what I decide to do after further thought.)
  2. Sometimes I am a little bit of a perfectionist I like things to be “just so” and my patience is, well… let’s just say – a work in progress.
  3. I have a tendency to bite my fingernails.

I could tell you stories about how these bad habits display themselves through my actions on a daily basis. I know these characteristics about myself and realize that these habits are just a part of me. I accept them, yet I also try to work occasionally at challenging them.

Prior to having kids, I never considered how much all of my habits (both good and bad) might also impact my own children.

Bad Habit #1: Time to Process…

When my oldest daughter was in preschool every morning we would have the same argument about what she would wear to school. Most days it did NOT end well – I would be frustrated, she would be crying, and we would race out the door late to preschool because of it.

This happened daily until finally I found a solution: Our days-of-the-week sorter.

We purchased this contraption (shown above), and now every Sunday I spend 5-10 minutes laying out my daughter’s weekly outfits. What I’ve found is that my daughter doesn’t care that I pick out all the outfits – she just likes that she knows ahead of time what she’s wearing for the week.

She needs time to process things.

Sound familiar?
OK. So she inherited this from me. I get it. Problem solved, lets move on.

Bad Habit #2: Perfectionist Tendencies…

Midway through my daughter’s 1st year of Kindergarten, she began taking piano lessons. Every morning she would get up, dressed in her pre-established “day-of-the-week outfit” and then after breakfast, we would sit down to practice piano together.

And again, every morning became a struggle. She loved piano, but was frustrated because the song did not sound the way it was supposed to the first time she played it.

She wanted it to be perfect the 1st time. Learning the patience to practice and get over that initial learning curve was NOT easy for her.

My daughter and I performing a duet at her 1st piano recital.

Perfectionist tendencies… I know, I know… chip off the old block.

OK. Moving on again.

Bad Habit #3: Nail-biting…

Then one day, when my daughter was in 2nd Grade, I went to trim her nails… and she had none.

And that’s when I thought… is it actually possible to inherit a nail-biting habit?

Magnifying our Habits

Do children pick up habits by watching the adults that they surround themselves with, or because they inherited some crazy “nail biting (or you fill in the blank) gene?”

These days, as my daughter continues to get older and form her own personality and habits, I am becoming more and more aware of my own actions and what she sees me doing – mostly because I am noticing that many times what I do has an eerie way of showing up again through my children.

And more times then I would like to admit sometimes, I’ve concluded that my actions – don’t always reflect my expectations.

I’m not always proud of my perfectionist tendencies, my overreactions due to the need to process new information over time, or my bad nail biting habit. I understand that these are characteristics that I should continue to reflect on and challenge.

However, being the somewhat obsessive planner that I am, I will admit to a small sense of gratification at observing my daughter’s infatuation with our family calendar and with erasing things from our family to-do list after we have completed an activity…

Hmm… Children definitely have a way of magnifying our own actions.

Leave a Comment: Do you think your actions as a parent speak louder than words? What habits do you see your own children picking up from you? How much of these habits do you believe to be passed down as a hereditary trait versus a learned trait?

This post has been contributed on behalf of The National Association of Mothers Centers, whose mission is to create a community of women, who through mutual support and public advocacy, explore, enrich and value the maternal experience.

The post author, Kate Fineske, currently is a staff member with the National Association of Mothers’ Centers where she maintains and provides the content to the Mothers Central Blog – the Parenting Blog of the NAMC. She is also responsible for helping the NAMC work to build stronger connections and support with the local Mothers’ Center Chapters nationally.

Kate is a longtime member of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers through her local chapter of the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo in Ohio. She and her husband are busy raising 3 children ages 1-8. Kate’s professional background is as a graphic designer in the creative and education industry. Since 2005, she has been using her professional skills by actively volunteering with the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo in various leadership positions. She also blogs personally at

You can connect with Kate via Twitter (@katefineske) and/or also connect with the NAMC via twitter (@MothersCenters) or Facebook.

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