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Last Thursday evening, my three year old son Ari came home from daycare, plopped himself down on our sofa, let out a loud sigh, then announced, “Geez. I had a loooooong day!”

This proclamation was then followed by another heavy sigh.

It was funny (at first) to hear my toddler talk like a groaning grown up. Until it occurred to me who the groaning grown up was that taught him to complain about his loooong day at daycare.

Yep, it was me. And yep, I am an inspirational author – who is supposed to recognize the benefits of choosing happy, positive, energizing words.

Although I don’t remember complaining about my looooong day in front of my son,  I figured these whiny words must have come from me – because that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of that particular week had been extra-crunchy busy – with me juggling a few writing projects at the same time.

When I heard my groaning grown up words being spewed by my little guy, I gotta say, I didn’t like it. I definitely do not want to teach my son it’s a good regular evening ritual to mutter exhausted complaints on the sofa.

I realized in that moment how I needed to give up this bad habit – not only because it’s bad for me to end my day whining about battle-fatigue, but I also want to protect my 3 year old son from making this his habit as well.

Basically, I don’t want my son to pick up my “second hand bad habit smoke.”

What do I mean by “second hand bad habit smoke”?

Well, we all know that not only is smoking cigarettes bad for your health, it also has deleterious effects on whoever is exposed to one’s second hand smoke. For this reason, a parent who smokes needs to be especially careful about not lighting up in front of their children.

Guess what? This same awareness applies to making sure we parents do NOT expose our children to our other bad habits as well  – because our children can easily inhale  “second hand bad habit smoke” – and suffer the negative consequences.

It’s a known factoid:

It’s not just what we tell our kids that they learn. They also learn from watching what we do.
@Notsalmon (Click to Tweet!)

Basically, whatever we parents do around our children they eventually inhale into their system.

With this in mind, here’s a list of bad habits we parents need to watch out for – so our kids don’t wind up inhaling our “second hand bad habit smoke.”

1.    Gossiping
2.    Texting during a meal
3.    Spending too much time on the computer
4.    Being sarcastic during a conflict
5.    Swearing
6.    Complaining too much
7.    Eating too much junk food
8.    Belittling or yelling at our partner
9.    Ignoring/not listening to our partner
10.  Laziness
11.   Expressing lack of faith/hope
12.   Being constantly negative about things
13.   Displaying addictions of any kind
14.   Showing angry impatience
15. Expressing lack of forgiveness/compassion – for ourselves, for our partner, for others


Karen Salmansohn (founder of the popular inspirational site www.notsalmon.com) is a bestselling author and award winning designer with over one million books sold. She is known for creating self help for people who wouldn’t be caught dead doing self help—like with her bestselling e-book Prince Harming Syndrome, an Oprah.com relationship e-book, with tools to let go of the pain from your past and to stop bad love patterns for good. Prince Harming Syndrome is now 50% OFF for a limited time—only $9.99—in a convenient e-book, so you can read on your computer or anywhere you can read a PDF. Click the link and you’ll see a list of FAQs so you can learn more about Karen’s philosophies (which helped her find her Prince Charming) and finally experience the happy family life she’s always dreamed about!