Kids know nothing about life. They learn by example. Everything they can do, beginning with speaking, is learned by the example of other people.
Do you remember The Jungle Book by Kipling? Mowgli learns from his surroundings – wild animals, since he had no chance to get to know how to be a human being. And there are real-life stories about kids who were raised half-wild in slums. That’s one more proof that children learn everything by example. And that’s true not only for basic skills but also for kids` life values and virtues.
What Is a Role Model?
In the context of parenting, role models are much more than just an example of how to pick up objects or lace shoes. A role model is a person who influences one’s behavior and inspires him or her. A kid who looks up to his role model can borrow:
- Dressing style;
- Hobbies, occupation to strive for;
- Communication skills patterns;
- The behavior patterns (responses to aggression, injustice, etc);
- Attitudes towards different groups of people (relatives, friends, siblings, strangers, etc);
- Life values (active/passive lifestyle, childfree or a big family, career or spending more time with close ones, etc)
- Compassion and the desire to help others.
The list is endless. But the traits a kid can learn from his role model can be both good and bad. Everything depends on the person your little one admires.
Who Is Your Kid`s Role Model?
Children spend the most time with their parents, and it’s likely that mom or dad is their example to follow. But, they might not be their children’s idols being replaced by teachers, older friends, siblings, other relatives, or even TV stars.
Do you know to whom your kid looks up? Spoiler: if you’re sure that it’s you, you may be mistaken, but that’s not the end of the world.
Parents as Main Role Models
conducted by OnePoll initiated by the University of Phoenix has found that 74% of people have a role model. They name such qualities as leadership skills, confidence, and intelligence as the ones that determine their role model among other people. Subsequently, 47% believe that dads have those qualities as well as moms (42%). Teachers have also received a high ranking (41%). See, parents are important figures to learn from in a person’s life.
One should distinguish, though, between the genuine desire to be similar to mom or dad and forced behavior to avoid punishment. In the first case, kids respect you and want to be like you. In the second case, children have to follow your wishes but most likely, they will give it up in adolescence. If you make your kid keep being an A-student, he’s likely to hate it.
Yet, you may not be a role model, and it’s OK. For instance, you tell your little one to do sport but avoid it yourself. Or, you demand from him to be polite and helpful while being rude to your spouse at the same time.
Kids don’t listen to us, but they see us. To become a role model you should meet all the requirements for it (live an active life, read more, be curious, consume healthy food, etc.). You also ought to stay connected with your son or daughter. Only then children will trust you and follow you.
Teachers as Role Models
For many kids, their favorite teachers become role models. Yet, they give way to parents and even celebrities. Furthermore, in the research Role Model, Hero or Champion, one states that boys in England see soccer players as their positive role models. At the same time, teachers are the ones to respect and look up to, but not follow.
A talented teacher or coach may become a role model to follow. And that’s good if your kid has such a person. As a rule, role models teachers are out-of-the-box thinkers and prefer being a friend to a kid rather than a schoolmaster. They also know how to cope with a group of children with different viewpoints as well as a strong-willed child. They love such obstacles and believe in kids` personalities.
Obviously those students that follow their teachers are more science-oriented or want to work in a sphere similar to their teachers` subjects. Does your kid have a teacher as a role model? It’s good if he does.
Celebrities as Role Models
TV stars, YouTube bloggers, and TikTok stars are also very popular among kids. As well as many of us used to hang Bon Jovi posters on the wall, modern children have their own idols. Celebrities can positively influence little kids, infusing them with a system of good values. Here are some positive impact examples:
- Sportspeople. It’s more common for boys. They like Patrick Mahomes, Kawhi Leonard, or other famous sportsmen and then start playing sports as well. Kids can benefit from such role models` examples because they teach them how to be persistent and work hard to succeed in life.
- Actors, musicians, TV hosts, comedians, etc. Emma Watson is an example of bravery and kindness to many girls who fell in love with her at the first sight, recognizing her mostly as Hermione Granger.
Celebrities can also provide negative role models examples which kids also tend to follow, supposing it`s cool. Many bad examples are set by rappers, rock singers, or even actors and sportsmen who are arrogant and care too much for wealth.
Parents should decide on their own whether their kid`s role model is worth following it. Interestingly, the research from Mintel reveals that 34 % of kids look up to social media stars. Look into that.
How To Become a Positive Role Model?
- Take Interest in Their Lives. Be present and try if not to love, then at least understand your children`s hobbies and take part in them.
- Use activities for positive attitude development.
- Follow New Trends. Keep up-to-date. Kids will appreciate your awareness of trend issues. And if you`re a granny or a grandpa who knows who`s Billie Eilish and what’s the newest model of the iPhone, then you can steal the show and win your`s grandkids` respect.
- Live a Healthy Life. No matter how much you speak about sport, kids won’t believe you until you do. Arrange your schedule and make time for jogging. Give up smoking and other bad habits to become the perfect role model.
- Follow Your Own Rules. You may seem a little bit strict and serious but, if you don`t change your mind several times a day, you can teach your little one how to be persuasive. Kids like self-confident parents because they feel safe with them.
- Be Forthright with Your Kids when Punishing Them. Make clear rules, learn more about positive and negative punishment and follow it. Be fair with kids, and they’ll see that you are a man of a word.
Can a Role Model Be Bad?
Everyone has negative traits. For some, it’s just a small flaw while for some people it’s a whole lifestyle. The problem occurs when such a person becomes a role model for a child. And the worst, it may be you, who provides a negative example.
Just in case your kid is constantly misbehaving or assaulting others, check if you`re not the source of it. Remember, a parent cannot hope for the good behavior of his child if he provides a negative example.
Other people can too provide a negative example. If so, try to shift your child’s attention from them, trying to find other friends or hobbies where he can spot a new, far better role model.
The most effective way to motivate a kid is to find him a role model. It doesn’t matter whether it’s parents or other people. It’s only important that they set a good example and make your little one to be the best version of himself.