An email came from my child’s dance studio that invited parents to sign their kids up to “learn how to dance like their favorite pop stars and dance role models.” I’m guessing they are going to teach them a bunch of TikTok dances? I don’t know. The phrasing made me stop and think though. These dancers who pop up for 30 seconds at a time actually are a lot of kids’ role models, not just for their dance skills, but for their beliefs. And as you can probably guess, not all of them are good role models.
As much as we think they only care about what a TikTok star does, it turns out our kids actually watch us for cues too. What we’re doing has the power to influence and guide them as well. If you’re looking for a good role model for your child, start by looking in the mirror and asking if it’s you. They don’t need perfection, so here are 10 basic ways you can be a role model for your children.
If you’re looking for a good role model for your child, start by looking in the mirror and asking if it’s you.
1. Share your values.
Teach your children important character traits such as honesty, reliability, and responsibility. Share your beliefs with them about important issues like your faith and morality. They’ll think it’s cool that mom stands up for what she believes in.
2. Demonstrate self-respect.
Show your children that you value your own life by taking care of yourself through a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management.
3. Value independence.
Provide the example of being a person who thinks for herself and does not follow the crowd just because something is popular.
4. Be careful with medication.
While sometimes medication is necessary, avoid taking medication as a coping method for minor pains and stresses.
5. Be responsible with alcohol.
If you do drink, make sure you drink in moderation and never as a coping method for stress. And as much as it might get a laugh from friends, never allow your children to mix, serve, or drink alcoholic beverages.
6. Deal with stress effectively.
Let your children know that stress is a normal part of life, and then demonstrate effective ways to handle it. Practice taking deep breaths and have the kids breathe with you, pray out loud for peace so they can hear you, and if you go for a walk, invite them to come along.
7. Share successes and failures.
Teach your children that they will experience both successes and failures. Share your own goals with them, and then let them know how you are meeting those goals and how you’ve handled letdowns. Let your children know that failures are OK and that they can use their failures as learning experiences.
8. Love and value your family.
Show your children you love them by spending time with them. Plan ahead for special trips to the zoo or a movie they want to see. Take them for walks around the neighborhood or go out for ice cream. And be sure to tell them how much you enjoy being with them.
9. Discuss the media.
Television, movies, music, social media, and even billboard advertisements provide opportunities to talk to your children about all sorts of subjects: substance abuse, peer pressure, integrity, body image, and relationships.
10. Take an interest.
Get involved with your children’s lives. If you are able, volunteer at their school or community events. Go to their Little League games and their piano recitals. And be sure to tell your children that you are interested in what is going on in their lives.
What do you do to try to be a good role model to your kids?
This article is based on the book Drawing Families Together, One Meal at a Time by Jill Kimball.