Being a role model for children is the most important job you can ever take – and as soon as you become a parent, it becomes a major part of your life. It is easy to forget that little eyes and ears catch everything that you say and do, but being a role model is a full-time obligation. Here are just a few of the ways you can become a positive role model for your kids.
1. Cultivate your own self-esteem
In order for your kids to feel better about themselves, they need to see you showcasing a positive self-image. Cultivate your own positive self-esteem, and your kids will be more apt to accept themselves.
2. Get involved in the community
Part of being a good role model is helping and showing concern for other people. Get involved in your community, whether it is through volunteering at a shelter or taking part in a community garden.
3. Communicate well
Keep an open line of communication with your kids. Show them that it is healthy to discuss your failures as well as confront issues that you have with a friend or family member. Not communicating could teach your kids to stuff down their feelings instead of dealing with them.
4. Follow through on commitments
Your children should know that it is important to follow through on commitments whenever possible. This skill will benefit them in future jobs and relationships. Become a positive role model by sticking to commitments you make rather than bailing because something else comes up.
5. Speak kindly of others
Show respect to other people, even when you do not care for them. Handle conflict respectfully, and do not use name calling as a communication device, even behind someone’s back.
6. Follow your own advice
Any advice that you give to your kids about being honest, kind, or exhibiting other positive characteristics is best demonstrated through your own behavior. Follow your own advice and practice what you preach. When you ask your kids to “Do as I say and not as I do,” the message is confusing.
7. Admit your mistakes
Nobody’s perfect, and sooner or later you are bound to flounder in front of your kids. Instead of sweeping your mistakes under the rug in front of your kids, admit them. Owning up to errors and showing how you plan to do better in the future provides a critical lesson for any child.
8. Take discipline seriously
Your kids need a role model, not a friend. To that end, discipline your kids when it is appropriate. This reinforces your expectations and your kids will respect you for it.
9. Never stop learning
Keep bettering yourself by learning new ideas, improving your skills, and seeking out knowledge. Whether you return to college or just continue to pick up new hobbies, continued education teaches your kids that they should never stop trying to better themselves.
Listen to what your kids have to say. Also remember to show your listening skills with friends, family, and your spouse when your kids are near. This teaches your kids to value the needs of others and become better listeners themselves.
Being a role model is not a task any parent is likely to take lightly. Still, it is a tricky thing to navigate and even with the best of intentions you may miss the mark from time to time.
Remember that a big part of being a role model is simply being willing to admit when you make mistakes and adjust your attitude and behavior as necessary. Your kids do not expect you to be perfect, and you can still be an excellent role model when you forget to follow your own rules once in awhile.