I’m going to clue you in on the number one secret to parenting — not that I am a parenting expert. In fact, there is no parenting expert out there, because every child is different and every situation changes.

But I’m going to tell you something that I think a lot of you need to understand — especially all the single parents that are out there.

I want you to listen up and see this. And also for those of you who are in marriages and in relationships, I want you to listen up very carefully today because I think this is going to be something that is really important for not only you, but also for the development of your child or children.

Now that the holidays have passed, it’s time to really look deeper about how we parent our children.

It’s not the presents you buy them, the schools that they can attend, the after-school activities that they do.

The #1 thing that our kids are doing and learning through us is modeling our behavior.

There’s a single mother that I know who refuses to work. She got a settlement from her first husband. That settlement started running out, so she found the next man to take care of her.

She does nothing but work a couple odd jobs once every blue moon.

Her daughter is seeing this behavior. She’s learning this behavior. She’s learning that it’s okay for women to live off of men, because that’s what her mother is doing.

She’s in a relationship that she’s not happy about. It’s written all over her face. The man is clueless to this and he just continues to buy her things, pay for things, and pay for her daughter’s things.

She’s got a little bit of cash, but she holds onto it, like a squirrel holds onto nuts in the wintertime.

She refuses to live in reality. And she thinks that she’s beating the system.

I’m sure she’s most likely already shopping around for her next victim. Her next man to foot her bill and to pay for her life.

Her daughter now is 11.

And when her daughter is 13, 14, 15, she’s going to start to clash with her mother, because she’s taking all of this in. She’s watching her mother in a loveless relationship.

She’s watching the dynamic between her mother and a man. She’s seeing how her mother is manipulating men into pay for things.

These are all things kids see.

As adults, we know what we have seen as children. That’s why we’re so able to clearly speak about our parents’ actions now and put all of the pieces of the puzzle together about dear old mom and dad in the present now, on how they related to us in the past.

So what’s going to happen to this young girl is that she is going to see that it’s okay to use men.

She’s going to see that it’s okay to basically live with men that she doesn’t love. Why? Because mom is going from one man to the next.

And just for the record, this is not about mothers. I’ve seen men do exactly the same thing.

I don’t know this particular father personally, but hopefully the father’s teaching her lessons that are contradicting the parenting that this woman is giving her child.

She thinks she’s the greatest mom that’s ever existed, because she doesn’t ever see herself, and she doesn’t ever see the future.

No matter what you do, no matter what financial situation you’re in, or whatever reason you give for doing what you do, for staying in marriages that don’t work for financial reasons, or living with men or women because they pay most of the bills…

…kids are seeing this, they are watching you bounce around, they are watching you use people.

So when you engage in this behavior (as I discussed in a podcast the other day in this podcast), just know what you’re actually doing.

You are damaging who your child will become as an adult.

So your actions, your self-centered actions right now, because you choose, if you’re doing this, not to work and not to live a life full of integrity, are strongly going to affect your child as an adult.

Careful what you do, because kids are always watching.