Why You Need To Be A Role Model for Your Child

The Role Model:

While young, there is usually an older person in our lives who has our admiration and respect, someone we look up to and want to be like in the future. This person could be a family member, a teacher, or a sports coach. Often subconsciously, we look up to them and model our behaviour on theirs.

Over time, as we grow older and more mature, our role models will change. Various people walk into our lives at different times, and change our perceptions, our viewpoint, and the way we think. We may replace old role models and follow new ones who better fit our current aspirations and thoughts.

The natural human tendency to imitate others plays a vital role in conditioning children, particularly teenagers. Children are sponges, soaking up personality attributes from people around them, and trying to emulate them in their own lives. 

Why Do Children Need Good Role Models?

Have a Better Perception of Life:

Children are keen observers, and once they imbibe a certain quality, it will more likely stay with them for life. Their view of life will depend on the person they are in close proximity with.

If the role model has an optimistic outlook, they too will have a glass-half-full view of life.

Maintain a Better Personality and Attitude:

As children are known to imitate the actions of their role models, they adopt their personality traits. The child observes how the role model handles a particular circumstance, and the child will mimic the same.

The people a child admires often influence the likes and dislikes of the child. 

Social Relationships:

Children assign importance to social relationships based on what they observe in their adult role model. In short, if the parent shows that they value social relationships, the child will follow suit.

In the words of Albert Bandura, a social cognitive psychologist at Stanford University:

“Role models help children to learn behaviours as opposed to learning from the consequences of their behaviours.”

Children often internalise their parent’s actions, thinking, “If they do it, so can I.”

Need for Parents as Role Models:

When adolescents have personal contact with their role models, they have greater self-esteem and perform better academically than those who do not.

Children with positive role models also have more self-confidence and better optimism about their future. They handle themselves better in social settings. These children are better at balancing and understanding life’s priorities. 

Children with parents who are good role models find it easier to deal with the vicissitudes of life as they have seen their parents do the same.

A sense of stability and security surrounds them from knowing that they too will overcome hurdles just as their parents did before them.

Parents who essay the part of role models will find it easier to guide and discipline their children. Keeping negative influences such as peer pressure at bay is a bonus.

Hence, children with parents as role models tend to have fewer behavioural issues.

Psychologists are of the view that in over 95% of cases, an individual’s behaviour is formed by imitating those around them. This usually occurs during the childhood and adolescence phase.

Thus, the need for a healthy relationship between the role model and a child cannot be emphasised enough. And the relationship should be full of positivity.

Role models must note that children learn by example rather than through instructions. This fact should be foremost in the mind of the role model when interacting with the child, and they should always attempt to lead by example.

— Mohammed Fazeel

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