Growing up in a broken family with two single parents who were hurting meant that I often had to look to teachers and coaches in my life to be my good role models. Ideally, my parents would have been that for me, but thankfully I found what I needed at school. Otherwise, without healthy role models, I’m not sure my life would have turned out as good as it did. I really aimed to imitate my role models, because I wanted them to affirm and love me. This turned out to be a great positive force in my life.
Jill Kimball, author of Drawing Families Together, One Meal at a Time, shares ten basic ways in which you can be a role model for your children:
1. Share Your Values.
Teach your children important character traits such as honesty, reliability, and responsibility. Share with them your beliefs about important issues.
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, Kimball warns against 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. Kimball advises to 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. If you need some help managing your own stress, check out a book from the library on relaxation techniques or sign up for a yoga class.
7. Share Successes and Failures.
Teach your children that they will experience both successes and failures in life. Share with them your own goals, and then let them know how you are meeting those goals and how you handle any letdowns. Let your children know that failures are okay 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 them.
9. Discuss the Media.
Television, movies, music and even billboard advertisements provide opportunities to talk to your children about numerous subjects: substance abuse, peer pressure, integrity, self-image, and relationships with others.
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.
Parents, what other suggestions do you have for being a good role model?
This article is based on the book, Drawing Families Together, One Meal at a Time, by Jill Kimball.