What is the meaning of role model? The dictionary defines a role model as an individual who is looked up to, revered and imitated by someone else. Role models, through their personal qualities and achievements, inspire others to lead an exemplary life without direct instruction.
However, role models can either be positive or negative. Positive role models project a range of useful behaviors but negative role models project harmful or disruptive behaviors.
Parents are the most powerful and influential role models for their children. Whether you like it or not, your children look up to you and revere you. They watch every move you make and try to imitate every action of yours.
As a parent, your job then is to lead by example. You have the responsibility of modeling the type of behavior you want your children to inculcate.
However, becoming a role model then would mean taking a close look at how you live your life and what your values and moral compasses are. Are you projecting habits that you would not like your kid to adopt? Such self-introspection can be uncomfortable but is absolutely necessary for the welfare of your child. Good role models set good examples for their kids to imitate. Parents can teach their children core values by being honest themselves, and by being thoughtful and consistent in everything that they do.
So how can you be a role model for your children? Here are some ways that parents can be good role models for their children.
Practice healthy living
Taking care of one’s health is today’s world of fast foods and instant noodles has become very important. Obesity and lifestyle diseases are on the rise. When you eat right and exercise regularly, you are not only taking care of your own health but are also setting an example for your child to follow. Watch what you eat, get enough sleep, take small breaks and incorporate healthy living into your lifestyle.
Focus on self-improvement
Develop a habit of continuous self-improvement. Be open to learning something new, trying on new experiences, learning a new language to name a few. There is always something new to learn. This teaches your child to never stop learning as well and they will be open to taking on new ideas, challenges, and experiences when they grow up.
Practice what you preach
Do as you say and say what you mean. As the common saying goes, walk the talk. Remember that your children are watching everything you do or say. If you have committed to something, stick by it. Do not try to wriggle out of a situation by lying or procrastinating. Be a person of integrity and value. Your action speaks much louder than words. Your child who is watching every move you make will inculcate what they see.
Be courageous to apologize
When you do something wrong, for example, if you snapped at your spouse or child, apologize. Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility for your action and admit that you did something unacceptable. It is healthy for your child to see you taking responsibility for your actions.
Practice positive communication skills
It is essential to realize that words have power. So try not to exhibit negative, hurtful and disrespectful language otherwise your child will inherit those negative skills.
Control your temper
Keep a close watch on how you respond to stress or anger. Do you blurt out expletives? Do you let your anger simmer for long? Do you find it difficult to forgive or to let go? How you respond to stress or resentment is a valuable tool to model to your child. If you respond in a calm manner then your children would inherit those qualities too. If you let bygone be bygones, your child will also learn to let go and forgive.
Be loyal and maintain good relationships
How do you treat your parents and your in-laws? Do your friends, siblings and others consider you as a loyal friend or a trustworthy person? Show your kids what true friendship and relationships are all about. Show up to help a friend in times of their need. Take care of your parents and in-laws. Speak to them with respect and honor. Help a person in need without expecting anything in return. All this behavior has a positive impact on your child and they will exhibit similar behaviors when they grow up.
Parents remember that teaching your children by example is much easier and effective than forcing them to obey by screaming or threatening or luring them with rewards. A good role model does not mean being a perfect parent but instead, it is all about being mindful that every word that is spoken and every action committed is being watched and noted by your children. I would say this is a good thing for parents as it provides an everyday chance to help your children become great people of our nation. So go ahead and be a great role model for your child.
Good luck and happy parenting!