One afternoon, Anne was dining out with her 5-year-old daughter Elsa when a waiter unintentionally spilled some juice on her. Despite the waiter’s apology, Anne was so furious that she began yelling at him, completely disregarding the other customers or her daughter Elsa. Soon after, Anne took Elsa to her best friend’s birthday party, and she was horrified to see her young child yelling at someone for spilling food on her dress. Anne then realized how closely Elsa had been watching her and how the experience at the restaurant influenced her behavior at the birthday party.
Can you relate to this or a similar scenario? Many parents, like Anne, are unaware that their actions are being observed and mimicked. And, sometimes, by the time they realize it, it’s too late.
Children observe people from the moment they are born, especially their parents, and learn from everything that they say and do. Simply put, children look up to their parents as role models. Parents serve as their children’s primary role models from a young age, even though they might look to others as role models as they grow older.3 Your attitude towards academics and extracurricular activities such as sports, as well as your relationships with others and lifestyle choices, all influence how your child chooses or perceives these things in their life. Therefore, it is essential that you serve as a positive role model for your child’s healthy development.
Not sure where to begin?
Here are 10 effective ways to be a positive role model for your children:1,2,3,4,5,6,7
- Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle: By incorporating good eating practices, regular exercise, and personal hygiene into your life, you can help your child develop a positive attitude toward health and hygiene.
- Instill Good Values and Walk the Talk: “Actions speak louder than words,” as the saying goes. Children pay close attention to everything you say and do. For example, talking about helping others in need and doing so when approached by someone in need can help your child understand and carry on values like kindness and compassion.
- Consider Focusing on Yourself: Each day is a new page in our lives. Try to learn something new, experience new things, and broaden your horizons. As they closely observe you doing this, this can help your child see the bigger picture of life and foster a never-stop growing attitude.
- Be a Good Listener: Children often have a lot to share with their parents. It could be about their school day, new ideas, things they are passionate about, their feelings, or a problem they are unsure how to handle. Sometimes they need to feel heard, and sitting down and listening to them can make them feel safe and loved. This can help foster a strong bond between you and your child and encourage them to open up to you. Not only that, but you are also teaching your child by your example the value of listening and the positive effects it can have on others when they feel heard.
- Manage Your Emotions: We go through a lot of things and emotions every day. They can range from joy to rage and disappointment. How you manage your emotions while dealing with the various challenges that life throws at you can serve as an important lesson for your child and help them work on and develop self-control.
- Create Goals: Creating goals can help you identify your current situation in life and the direction you want it to go in. These goals serve as a foundation for your plans and accomplishments. Seeing how you do it can help your child understand the importance of organization and self-discipline and how to incorporate them into their lives.
- Be Open About Your Life: When your child is old enough to understand, be open and honest about your life. Sharing your experience—good, bad, beautiful, and ugly—and your mistakes and accomplishments can help them better understand strengths, weaknesses, and a positive outlook.
- Maintain Strong Social Bonds: It is critical that you are in the right relationship and have strong social bonds. Children watch how you interact with others, what you do, and how you gracefully handle various situations, such as making amends, having fun with your neighbors, asking for and providing support, and showing appreciation for others. This can help your child understand the value of social relationships and can influence their choice of friends and how they interact with others, both inside and outside of school.
- Model Independence: Encourage your child to imagine, express, create, and pursue things on their own by modeling it through your personal independence, commitments, and goals. When they see that they can follow and accomplish the things they are passionate about, they become more independent.
- Address Substance Use: Addressing alcohol and drug use is important, especially if you have a teen child. While everyone’s perception of alcohol and drugs is different, and the limits may differ, it is crucial to discuss, set boundaries, and address alcohol and drug use with your child. Encourage your child to feel at ease talking to you about these subjects by setting a good example for them in your own behavior.
Disclaimer: “The characters and events portrayed in this blog are fictitious. The information provided on this site is NOT medical advice and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, provide medical or behavioral advice, treat, prevent, or cure any disease, condition, or behavior. You should consult with a qualified healthcare professional regarding your child’s development to make a medical diagnosis, determine a treatment for a medical condition, or obtain other related advice.”
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- Being The Best Role Model for Your Kids | Northwestern Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/being-the-best-role-model
- Parents: role models & influences on teens | Raising Children Network. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://raisingchildren.net.au/pre-teens/behaviour/encouraging-good-behaviour/being-a-role-model
- Kearney, M. S., & Levine, P. B. (2020). Role Models, Mentors, and Media Influences. 30(1), 83. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1262726.pdf
- Parents Are Powerful Role Models for Children. (2007). https://www.easternflorida.edu/community-resources/child-development-centers/parent-resource-library/documents/parents-powerful-role-models.pdf
- Being a Role Model – The Promise and the Peril The Center for Parenting Education. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/focus-parents/role-model-promise-peril/
- Brinda Mary, Jj. (n.d.). ROLE OF PARENTS IN INCULCATING VALUES Assistant Professor, Sri Ragavendra College of Education. 1, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://ijariie.com/AdminUploadPdf/ROLE_OF_PARENTS_IN_INCULCATING_VALUES_c1264.pdf
- Do You Have These 4 Qualities of a Positive Role Model for Children? (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://educationandbehavior.com/importance-of-positive-role-models-for-children/