10 Things You Can Do Today To Be A Good Role Model To Your Kids

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As a parent of 3, I can tell you that parents may be natural role models for their children, but serving as positive influencers isn’t second nature for all of us. Experts say positive role models are essential for children; the process of emulating and identifying with role models is how we all develop our sense of selves.

You can start becoming a positive role model the moment your child is born. It starts slowly by showing love and loyalty with gentle hugs and lullabies. The process evolves as children grow.

Chances are you are already doing the basics, like making sure you don’t let four-letter words fly in your children’s presence, but are you optimizing your role as their number one mentor? There are steps you can take to ensure you are modeling the types of behavior, character and lifestyle you want to instill in your children.

 

1.  Think Out Loud

When you have a tough choice to make, allow children to see how you work through the problem, weighing the pros and cons, before reaching 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 came to that conclusion. That way, the child will be able to follow that reasoning when they are in a similar situation.

 

2.  Apologize 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. By apologizing, admitting your mistake, and repairing the damage, you will be demonstrating an important yet often overlooked part of being a role model.

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3.  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.

 

4.  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 tell children to “treat others the way we want to be treated,” but we may not subscribe to that axiom ourselves. Do you take your spouse, friends, or colleagues for granted? 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.

In addition, treat yourself with love and respect and encourage your children to do the same thing. This in turn will reduce the amount of abuse that they might put themselves through in the future.

 

5.  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. They are also more likely to feel a sense of love and connectedness with their families, and a greater sense of community with the world around them.

 

6.  Demonstrate Confidence in Who You Are

Whatever you choose to do with your life, make sure that you are proud of the person you’ve 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 amassed, and the character developed.

 

7.  Make Your Home a Healthy Eating Zone

Stock your kitchen with fresh produce and whole grains. If there’s no junk to eat at home, your children will be less likely to eat it. Also make sure you enjoy dinner together. Children who eat meals with their family are reportedly more likely to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

8.  Get Moving

Get off the couch and walk, run or hit the gym. If your children see you exercising and staying active, they will be more likely to follow suit. Be creative in encouraging your children to become active (the earlier in age the better). Help them determine which activities they enjoy. If they love soccer or rollerblading, they are more likely to exercise regularly and stick to it.

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9.  Limit Screen Time

Limit your children’s time in front of the TV, video games and computer. Setting rules can cut their screen time by three hours a day. Plus, statistics show there is a link between excessive screen time and children who are overweight and earn lower grades in school.

 

10.  Don’t smoke

According to Smokefree.gov, smoking damages nearly every organ in your body. Besides being extremely addictive, the nicotine in cigarettes dramatically increases a person’s risks of contracting various diseases, including lung cancer and emphysema. It also causes high blood pressure and heart disease and the nicotine in cigarettes can threaten your vision. One-third of all cancer deaths are caused by tobacco. Need I go on?

One of the primary forms of expression that children exhibit is mimicry. Therefore smoking parents are far more likely to raise smoking children.

 

Finally it’s important to note that children process information differently than adults. For example a typical phrase coming from a well meaning parent might be “If you don’t do well in school then you’ll never amount to anything.” A child will not process a conjunctive phrase in it’s entirety but rather will break it into two parts and process only the emotional content of the phrase. That of course is that he will never amount to anything. Because parents behave in repetitive patterns, that negative idea gets reinforced over and over. The solution is to inspire your children and show them the value of a good education.

In all of these areas, be flexible and prepare to grow as a role model as your children mature. Vulnerable children eventually become independent teenagers and adults and you’ll be modeling behavior based on more complex issues, such as relationships, child rearing, death and loss.

And remember, nobody is perfect. Strive to do your best, but by allowing children to see your imperfections it reminds them — and you — that we are all human. That means they are allowed to make mistakes, as well.

Kerry Gaynor

Kerry’s purpose and overarching objective in developing his Method since he began thirty years ago has always been the same: to help save lives. Addictions or ailments, whether it is smoking cigarettes or over eating, can feel a lot like being a prisoner or a slave to your addiction. Kerry has experienced so much fulfillment from helping people unchain themselves from their addictions that it is the only thing he has ever cared to do since his very first client.

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