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Who is your child's role model?
Monday, 16 June 2014 00:00

7 Characteristics of Positive Role Modelling


More than 75 percent of children say family members, family friends, teachers, coaches and community leaders are their role models, according to the 2008-2009 State of Our Nation’s Youth survey by the Horatio Alger Association. Fewer than 25 percent say entertainment figures, artists, sports figures and national or international leaders are their role models. No matter how much television your child watches, he's most likely watching you or another familiar adult more closely to decide how he wants to lead his life.

Positive Effects of Role Models

Research shows that 56 percent of adolescents identified with role models. Those who identified with role models they knew personally showed higher levels of self-esteem and stronger academics.

Who is Your Child's Role Model?

It is easy to assume, in a media-driven culture, that your child’s most influential role model is his favourite musician, actor, athlete or political leader. But according to research, only 13 percent of high school students claim their most influential role models are entertainment figures or artists. Fifty-seven percent say role models are family members. Of those, 36 percent say their mothers are their role models. Twenty-eight percent identify with their fathers. The other 36 percent identify with other family members.

Parents as Role Models

Although your children are busy with school, extracurricular activities and friends, they are still watching you and taking mental note. Two of the most important aspects of being a good role model are leading by example and keeping open communication. In leading by example, parents help their children make healthy choices. By keeping communication open, parents can help children deal with issues such as peer pressure and other negative influences.

Teachers and coaches as Role Models

Teachers and coaches can be a positive influence in their students' lives. Teachers exemplify the value of education and intellectual curiosity. Coaches are important, as well, according to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. They instil the values of fitness, team effort and fair play. For young people who are not fortunate enough to have positive role models in their families, teachers and coaches can have a lasting and important influence.

Tips for a Positive Role Model

If you are one of the many parents who wants to be the best role model possible, Education.com offers some tips. Treat others with respect and kindness. Talk about your values and morals. If you take prescription medications, do so responsibly and talk about it with your child. Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation and discuss the consequences of abusing alcohol and other drugs. Talk with your children about school, activities, their friends and anything else they wish to discuss. Most important, show your love for your spouse, children and other family members and close friends.

7 characteristics of a positive role model remain constant:

1. Model positive choice-making: Little eyes are watching and little ears are listening. When it comes to being a role model, you must be aware that the choices you make don’t only impact you but also the children who regard you as their superhero. Someday, they will be in the same predicament and think to themselves, “What did s/he do when s/he was in the same situation?” When you are a role model it’s not enough to tell your charges the best choices to make. You must put them into action yourself.

2. Think out loud: When you have a tough choice to make, allow the children to see how you work through the problem, weigh the pros and cons, and come to a decision. The process of making a good decision is a skill. A good role model will not only show a child which decision is best, but also how they to come to that conclusion. That way, the child will be able to follow that reasoning when they are in a similar situation.

3. Apologise and admit mistakes: Nobody’s perfect. When you make a bad choice, let those who are watching and learning from you know that you made a mistake and how you plan to correct it. This will help them to understand that (a) everyone makes mistakes; (b) its not the end of the world; (c) you can make it right; and (d) you should take responsibility for it as soon as possible. By apologizing, admitting your mistake, and repairing the damage, you will be demonstrating an important yet often overlooked part of being a role model. (This point began some great conversation on parents and role models in the comments below and here.)

4. Follow through: We all want children to stick with their commitments and follow through with their promises. However, as adults, we get busy, distracted, and sometimes, a bit lazy. To be a good role model, we must demonstrate stick-to-itiveness and self discipline. That means; (a) be on time; (b) finish what you started; (c) don’t quit; (d) keep your word; and (e) don’t back off when things get challenging. When role models follow through with their goals, it teaches children that it can be done and helps them adopt an “if s/he can do it, so can I” attitude.

5. Show respect: You may be driven, successful, and smart but whether you choose to show respect or not speaks volumes about the type of attitude it takes to make it in life. We always tell children to “treat others the way we want to be treated” and yet, may not subscribe to that axiom ourselves. Do you step on others to get ahead? Do you take your spouse, friends, or colleagues for granted? Do you show gratitude or attitude when others help you? In this case, it’s often the little things you do that make the biggest difference in how children perceive how to succeed in business and relationships.

6. Be well rounded: While we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin, it’s important to show children that we can be more than just one thing. Great role models aren’t just “parents” or “teachers.” They’re people who show curiosities and have varied interests. They’re great learners and challenge themselves to get out of their comfort zones. You may be a father who’s also a student of the martial arts, a great chef, a good sportsman, and a treasured friend. You may be a mother who’s a gifted dancer, a solid rock climber, a celebrated singer, and a curious photographer. When children see that their role models can be many things, they will learn that they don’t need to pigeon-hole themselves in order to be successful.

7. Demonstrate confidence in who you are: Whatever you choose to do with your life, be proud of the person you’ve become and continue to become. It may have been a long road and you may have experienced bumps along the way, but it’s the responsibility of a role model to commemorate the lessons learned, the strength we’ve amassed, and the character they’ve developed. We can always get better, however, in order for children to celebrate who they are, their role models need to show that confidence doesn’t start “5 pounds from now,” “2 more wins on top of this one,” or “1 more possession than I have today.” We must continue to strive while being happy with how far we’ve come at the same time.

While it may seem like a great deal of pressure to be a positive role model; nobody is expecting you to be superhuman. We certainly wouldn’t expect that behaviour from the children who are looking to us for answers and guidance—nor would we want them to expect that kind of flawless behaviour from themselves or others. You can only do your best. And, if you mess up today, you can always refer back to tip #3 and try again tomorrow. Good role models earn multiple chances from the children who believe in them and know they can do anything if they simply put their mind to it.

Article by : drrobynsilverman.com and livingstrong.com

 

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