From birth, children are our mirrors. They learn to imitate our facial expressions, sticking their tongues back out at us for a laugh or a smile, showing us they can do that trick too. They watch us intently as they grow, for better or worse, picking up on our language, mannerisms, behaviors and emotions. Children are like perceptive little sponges, soaking up the world around them. As they grow and begin to test limits more and more, they often display behaviors that we may not be fond of. They may yell, fight with siblings, talk back, refuse to do something, hit, tantrum, and other behaviors that can make parenting a challenge. Whenever a parent talks with me about the things they wish their child was doing, such as use feeling words to express themselves, calm themselves down when they're angry, or cope with worries, I often ask parents if they modeling any of those healthy behaviors that they would like to see in their children? Do you remain calm, counting deep breaths when you're angry, or do you sometimes yell and lose your temper? Do you punch a pillow or using art to express your frustrations or do you go straight to punishments and consequences? Do you use feeling words to describe how you feel aloud in front of your children so they can learn about all the different types of emotional states? Nine times out of ten parents are wanting and wishing that their children would behave better, without practicing those positive behaviors themselves. Remember, children watch and learn from those around them, so if we want their behaviors to change, we need to ask ourselves what their behavior may be trying to show us? How are they being our mirrors today? When we can see children's behaviors as mirrors and ask ourselves these questions, we can begin to increase our awareness of how interconnected we are and take a look at how we can model positive coping skills for our children. So adults, next time you're angry or frustrated, see if you can say aloud how you're feeling, showing your children how you can cope with anger and that it is possible to feel angry but express that anger in a healthy way. Using words, art, breath, counting, pillow punching, feet stomping, and writing are all great ideas for anger expression. We can be the change we wish to see in them, trusting that children will continue to be our reflection in the mirror and learn from what they see.