As parents, we can be role models for our kids. However, it is important for them to have other role models in the community as well. They can benefit from having multiple caring adults in their lives to turn to when they have problems. They can also learn different skills and viewpoints from different people.
For example, my oldest has found a great role model and friend in her manager at work. I think it is great that she has found another woman to look up to and learn from.
My daughter has learned the importance of hard work, integrity, and time management from her manager at work. Now her manager is mentoring her to take over her position as she moves into a higher position herself. The desire to move up in the workplace and be successful is something that she has learned from her manager in a positive way.
When your child isn't solely dependent on your for advice, wisdom and guidance, it helps them get a wider and more balanced view of the world. It widens their perspective when they can learn from other adults too.
According to Teachers with Mrs. T,
Role models show young people how to live with integrity, optimism, hope, determination, and compassion. They play an essential part in a child’s positive development.
The more positive role models that kids can have in their lives, the better!
What is a Role Model?
A role model is someone that your child can look up to, and aspire to be like. Role models can teach kids many different desirable personality characteristics that they can develop themselves.
According to Education and Behavior there are 4 qualities of good role models:
Positive role models try their best to make healthy lifestyle choices.
A positive role model shows respect to others, even in challenging situations.
Many adults have several interests, and it is important for role models to show children that curiosity can be a good thing.
A good role model will encourage children to exercise and/or be regularly active and provide support and partnership.
As a parent, you can point out the importance of having role models to your children, and encourage them to build positive relationships with other caring adults in their lives.
When children are learning and growing, they are like little sponges soaking up their environment. They try to emulate adult behavior, and to do things the way that adults do. This makes it important for children to spend time around adults who are positive and uplifting people.
This can inspire them, and show them that there are many different possibilities for their future. Role models can be found in many places that your child will go, and they will interact with many adults in their day. It is important to point out qualities in adults that you admire, so that your child may wish to emulate them.
According to the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
Some parents may want to help their children choose positive role models. Here are some helpful suggestions for discussing role models with your child and for serving as a positive role model yourself:
Have your child identify what qualities he admires in his role model
Give examples of people in your community who you feel have positive qualities and are a good influence on others
Talk about people you look up to for guidance and inspiration
By asking your kids to think about these types of questions, it can allow them to look for support and guidance from other adults. It will let them feel like they have permission from you to seek out other positive relationships, and to know that it won't make you feel like your relationship with them has been diminished in some way when they rely on other adults as well.
Role Models at School
Your child can find many wonderful adult role models at school, in the form of teachers, coaches, counselors and other supportive adults in the school community.
Since our kids spend so much of their time at school, it is great when they can benefit from positive relationships with teachers and other adults in the school. Trusting relationships are the basis for our kids learning.
According to Teachers With Mrs. T,
Teachers are key role models, who can influence the attitudes, values and behaviours of their pupils. A positive role model serves as an example–inspiring children to live meaningful lives. Teachers are a constant presence in a child's life. They influence children as much as—if not even more than—parents do.
For this reason, it is key for children to develop positive relationships with their teachers. You can encourage your child to foster these relationships by having good behavior in class, and open communication with their teachers.
Coaches for extra-curriculars are also good role models for your kids. Coaches and sponsors of sports and other clubs are likely to have a very involved relationship with your child as well.
When my daughter was in 8th grade, she and some of her friends started an after-school Anime club. They had to find a teacher to sponsor their club, and she asked her math teacher to sponsor them. It was a great opportunity for her and her friends to build a relationship with their teacher through their after school club.
In sports as well, a child will spend a lot of time interacting with their coach, and learning skills that they need to succeed. Some of these will be specific to their sport, but others will be life skills too. This can include things like the importance of exercise and healthy eating, time management, sportsmanship, teamwork, and giving their best efforts.
These lessons can carry over from the playing field to the rest of their lives as well.
Community Role Models
Children can also find role models outside of school in the wider community, as my daughter has with her boss at work. If your child works or volunteers in the community, they will come in contact with adult supervisors there too. These adults can help them learn the values of community involvement, and having a good work ethic.
If you attend church, or another type of structured group activity like Scouts or 4H, kids can learn a lot from the group leaders there as well. In addition to learning life skills and about the outdoors, they can learn the value of positive community involvement through these types of organizations.
Other adults in the family can serve as role models as well. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and other adult family members can teach kids important lessons too. They can build positive relationships with these adults in order to have support from a wider family than just your immediate family.
The Impact of Role Models
When children have positive adult role models, this helps them feel a sense of connection and belonging. It can also help them to be more confident, and to learn new skills.
According to Roots of Action,
Research studies have long shown a correlation between positive role models and higher levels of civic engagement in young people. Positive role models are also linked to self-efficacy, the ability to believe in ourselves. In fact, the young people in my study admitted that had they not learned to believe in themselves, they would not have been capable of believing they could make a difference in the world!
Children develop as the result of many experiences and relationships. Role models play an important role in inspiring kids to learn, overcome obstacles, and understand that positive values can be lived each day. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, civic leader, clergy member, sports coach, after-school program leader, or a person who just happens into a child’s life, you have the ability to inspire!
When children have positive role models, it can help to teach them the value of prosocial behaviors. In addition to learning specific skills like how to kick a ball or play the flute, adult role models can teach social skills too. This is important for your child's healthy development throughout their lifetime.
When children find adult role models, these are positive adults that they can turn to for support with difficult situations. There are many helpful life lessons that they can learn by having supportive adults in their lives.
Children can find role models through school, sports and clubs, and in the wider community.
Having many supportive adult role models in their lives can help children widen their perspective on life, and feel that they have people in their lives who will have their backs and be able to give them advice.
Although parents are their children's first role models, it is good to encourage them to seek out other positive adult role models as well.
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