Someone to Follow

Someone to Follow

Good role modeling starts at home. Parents have an excellent opportunity to model conduct and speech for, and to interact with, their children. Here are some principles to follow to become a good role model.

Modeling Behavior

The main idea of being a role model is giving your kids an example to follow, so provide them with behavior worth looking up to. Shirking responsibility or cheating on your taxes, for example, will teach them that this conduct is okay. On the other hand, if your children observe you helping a neighbor or working hard to secure them a better future, they will adopt this as the norm in their own lives. Treat people as you want to be treated and live as you want your kids to live.

Depending on your parental role, you have unique opportunities to show your children how to live. For example, fathers can have a huge impact on their sons by demonstrating appropriate behavior towards women. Fathers, show appreciation for the ladies in your life, and exhibit respect towards those on television. Mothers are equally influential, and they can teach their daughters to value and be sensitive towards men. Parents, be sure to demonstrate nurturing behavior towards your children as well as for them so that they may learn to become good parents themselves. Similarly, spouses, show your children how much you love each other so that they may learn to become good spouses, too. Child see, child do.

Talk the Talk

Role modeling goes beyond walking the walk. Talk to your kids about alcohol, drugs, sex, violence, and everything you think is important to address. The media is constantly telling us what to think about these important issues, and it often tells us and our children lies. Kids need to get the truth about such serious topics at home first.

Even when you’re not discussing issues as difficult as these, it’s important that you consider your daily speech. The way we talk is enormously influential on our kids. If you want them to use “sir” and “ma’am” when addressing adults, do so in your own speech. If you don’t want your child to use bad language, you need to watch yours as well. Speak words worth repeating.

Engaging with Your Kids

While displaying the best behavior that you can for your kids, one major pitfall to avoid is trying to be perfect. Children can’t relate to someone who they believe never makes mistakes. Make sure to level with them and admit your own shortcomings. Sympathize with their anxieties and weaknesses. Above all, show your children unconditional love.

Spend plenty of time with your kids. If there isn’t time, make time. Support their interests, pay attention when they speak, and overall, show that you understand. Kids will trust you when they believe you care.

In the end, your children don’t need another superhero, a cool best friend, or a teacher as a parent. Be a parent first, and be the best you can be.

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