Every parent is a role model for their children. It comes with the territory of raising, providing for, and setting an example for another human being for years on end. However, being a positive role model is a bit more challenging.
The plain truth is, your child will see the worst sides of you. They’ll see you at your lows and see you when you’ve failed — so how can you be a positive role model for your child as they absorb the good, the bad, and the ugly going on around them? Let’s break it down.
Show Kids How to Ask for Help
A common theme these days is teaching self-reliance and an “I can do it myself” mentality. While inner strength is important, though, it’s also essential that you show your child how to recognize when it’s time to ask for help.
After you’ve had a new baby, for instance, it’s good for an older sibling to see their mother can recognize the need for assistance during the postpartum phases of recovery. Whether it’s getting a break from providing 24-hour childcare in order to take a shower or simply asking for a hand with the dishes, if a child sees their parent ask for help, it will help them learn how to understand their own needs as well.
Remember, Role Modeling is a Full-Time Job
Being a role model doesn’t take place in certain instances or on specific occasions. It’s a full-time job — especially when it’s with someone that you live with and who depends on you for everything.
Whether you’re in a social setting, processing emotions behind closed doors, eating, sleeping, communicating with a partner, or any other occasion, always be aware of how your behavior is coming across to your child.
Teach Them to Love Learning
Learning is a life-long occupation, and it’s an activity that should be fostered in all children. One of the best ways to do this is by showing your child that engaging in the learning process is something to be desired, not eschewed.
Rather than simply forcing your child to do their homework or spend time reading off on their own, look for educational games that you can play with them and that can speak to your particular child’s learning style. Playing a round of Scrabble or listening to an audiobook together can be a great way to reinforce the fact that learning never should stop.
Demonstrate Soft Skills
Soft skills like a strong work ethic and communication are difficult to teach in traditional educational formats. However, role models can be an excellent way to demonstrate various soft skills to a child.
If, for instance, you start your own business as a single parent, it can provide the perfect opportunity to show your child how to organize yourself, be resourceful, execute research, and problem solve.
Many lists of this nature emphasize respect and taking responsibility for your actions, both of which are critical to role modeling success. However, one action that is often overlooked is the importance of apologizing.
Every time you are grumpy, irritated, or short with your child, you should always be willing to track them down and apologize to them. You can still discuss why they did something wrong or why you were right about an issue. However, the ability to separately apologize for a poor response will show your child how to handle themselves when they make mistakes — which they will.
Being a Long-Term Role Model
Whether you’re a grandparent thinking about your grandchildren, you’re looking for a quality nanny or babysitter, or you’re simply trying to get your act in order for your own offspring, it’s important to consider the nitty-gritty aspects that go into being a long-term role model for your child.
Remember, you don’t need to be perfect. You simply need to strive to maintain a positive, constructive mindset as you go about modeling good behavior — and apologizing for bad behavior — on a daily basis.
Read Next | Find a Great Nanny in and around New York City
Sam Bowman writes about families, wellness, and how the two merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.
Like what you read? JOIN the Mommybites community to get the latest on FREE online classes, parenting advice, events, childcare listings, casting calls & raffles, and our Parents With Nannies Facebook group. SIGN UP NOW!