Are you proud of the role model you are? If you would like to improve then I hope you will enjoy this blog about becoming the best role model you can.
Parenting can be tough: but one of the most basic ways we can raise our children is simply by being a good role model for them.
Parent as role model: our children are our small shadows and start doing everything we do from a very early age. Every time you say something, take an action or have a reaction to someone or something, your child is observing your behaviour and will mirror it. This is how they learn!
Even your teenagers – although you might not believe it – are listening to your words, observing your actions and reactions and examining how you handle everything, and will model your behaviour.
But it can be a real challenge for parents to provide a positive example so here are our top tips:
- Show RESPECT for others and yourself: Think about how you talk about and treat your friends, family members, neighbours and even yourself. Would you say hello and smile to a stranger or hold the door for someone at the store? Your child is learning how to value other people and institutions by watching your example. This includes how you talk about school, your work, and your friends and even about them! So consider your words wisely. Your child also takes cues on self-worth from you. Respect yourself and your child will follow your lead. It is ok to self-praise!
- Give them your mindful time: If you give some focused and mindful time to your children every day, where you are not doing chores, checking the phone or even thinking about chores or what is next on the agenda, they are more likely to give you their time when you ask them to do something. Try to spend focused time with each of your kids every day.
- Keep a POSITIVE OUTLOOK. Consider the energy in your own family. Do you focus and comment on the positives or the negatives the most? Hmmm, maybe negative thinking and feelings begins at home? Look for all the positive things your children are doing. Show you have noticed by acknowledging it to your child and make them aware how it makes you feel i.e. I noticed you hung up your blazer, I really appreciate it. The balance should be: 3 positives to 1 negative.
- Kids are your food & screen shadows Are you struggling to get your child to eat healthier foods or stop watching so much TV? You can’t expect them to do it on their own! Show them how. Cook together, sit down and share healthy meals and snacks with them, reduce your own TV and phone time and plan outdoor activities you can do together, like a walk in the evening or a bike ride.
- Practice positive COMMUNICATION skills. Do you wish your child would talk to you more? Or choose to speak instead of scream? Listen more? Consider your own use of words…do you use them to hurt, criticise, argue, nag or command? Do you REALLY listen to your children when they are talking? Or do you interrupt, give advice and ridicule them for their words and feelings? Be mindful of how and when you communicate – give your child your complete attention and respect her thoughts. You are teaching her to do the same for you. Listen and they will listen to you. Words are a powerful thing. If you demonstrate positive, polite and respectful language, your child will do the same.
- Work on ANGER MANAGEMENT. Is your child quick to lose his temper, throw a tantrum or cry out of frustration? How about you? How you respond to stress, anger or hurt feelings is a valuable tool that you can model for your child. I always think of the mother who screams at her children to, “Stop yelling!” She might really want them to stop, but is she teaching them how to effectively communicate or just modelling the same bad behaviour? Next time you are faced with a challenge, try to remain calm, take a deep breath and talk through the issue. If appropriate, talk to your child about what triggered your anger and how you dealt with it.
You can’t be “perfect”. The simple truth is none of us are perfect, and we will certainly do something some day that we wish our child hadn’t heard or seen.
Your actions after a mistake are just as important as your initial actions. It’s moments like these that allow you to demonstrate such challenging emotions as forgiveness, humility and empathy. So the next time you aren’t the picture of parenting perfection, take a moment to step back and talk to your child about what just happened. If you’ve said something unkind to your spouse, for example, make sure your children can also hear you apologise and discuss the incident. To admit your mistake, say sorry and move on is a great act of role modelling.
We wish you good luck in parenting as a role model and hope you will enjoy the process of raising your children. Remember to look for the positive outcomes and moments when you can be proud of yourself!
Mette – Parenting & Family Coach