We all want the best for our kids. We hope to provide them with access to education and life-skills so that they will grow into self-sufficient, happy adults who can make a meaningful contribution to society.
Despite our best efforts, most parents feel like we’re not doing enough. It’s a natural impulse for parents to wonder what else can they do or provide. This is where role modelling comes in. Becoming a role model for your child to look up to and to follow will help your child’s personal development. Why? Because there is no one your child looks up to more than you. Studies have shown that children model most early behaviours from their immediate family, home environment and surroundings – all of which enable can enable a positive (or negative) attitude in the child.
What does it mean to be a role model?
Role models are the people who inspire us and who we strive to emulate. Parents often have a huge impact on their children in terms of behavioural and mental aspects due to them being a constant presence in children’s lives. Naturally, the more time spent with your children, the greater influence there would be.
Here are some top tips about how to be a good role model as a parent:
1. Be the best version of yourself
As a parent, you’ll be busy, perhaps stressed, even overwhelmed. Your child picks up on the ways you manage daily stressors, communications, and life in general. All these (seemingly minor) steps we take each take can leave a major impact on your child. Take account each day of the words you use at home, body language, and how you solve problems. Be mindful of your words and actions, even in the early stages of childhood – even babies pick up on the smallest things!
2. Be a good listener
Children have a lot that they wish to share about their day, so spend some time each day devoted to listening to your child. Being a good listener encourages children to have the freedom to express their thoughts and feelings. Try to keep this time for your child to speak rather than as an opportunity to speak and to teach your child. One of the best times to engage in meaningful conversation with your child is so called “golden time” – which is the last 15 minutes or so right before bed. Give your child your undivided attention, ask open questions, and see what “comes up”.
3. Lead by example
Children from baby to teenage years will observe your actions and how you handle situations. They analyse how you handle stress; watch how you treat other people and closely observe how you deal with your feelings. Like a sponge, all external stimuli is absorbed. Be mindful of how you carry yourself and your habits, checking and correcting yourself if you fall into negative behaviours (easier said than done!) Take this opportunity to foster good habits in your child by leading by example. An example would be spending less time on your phone or other electronic objects and read a book or do some activity outside.
4. Be humble
Humility is an often-forgotten trait. Take care with your tone and language whilst speaking to others or your child. Yelling to prove your point or improper language act as stress factors for your child. Be patient and hear their perspective when discussing. Children put a lot of value in how parents interact with them.
5. Be encouraging
Children always seek validation from their parents especially during specific milestones in their lives. Each child has their own personalities, strengths and attitude, generally a parent’s role is to help guide their child along the right path and encourage their growth.
Parents play an important part in the development of a child as they grow up whether through their presence or absence. Choose to be a positive influence and role model for your child, it is never too late to start.
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Developed for Dadi Mandarin and written by WOI.