By: Dyan Eybergen
We all want our children to be influenced by good, strong role models who possess the kind of qualities that make our sons and daughters want to become better people. But exactly what qualities are we looking for in people and where do we find them?
The following six features of a positive role model represent the kinds of characteristics that will influence children into being the best people they can be:
- Apologize and admit mistakes: We teach children early on to apologize for any wrongdoing; yet as adults we often forget this golden rule when it comes to making things right for ourselves. A role model who makes a bad choice, needs to let the children around them know about the mistake and give a plan for how it will be corrected. This will help children understand everyone makes mistakes and that it is important to take responsibility for it as soon as possible. By apologizing, admitting a mistake, and repairing the damage, role models demonstrate an honest trait of accountability.
- Show respect: Respect begets respect. We always tell children to “treat others the way we want to be treated” and yet, may not subscribe to that axiom ourselves. Role models who give respect unconditionally are the greatest influences on how to show respect to others.
- Say what you mean; mean what you say: We all want children to stick with their commitments and follow through with their promises. A good role model will follow through on promises and stick to their word. When role models follow through with their goals, it teaches children a commitment ethic.
- Make positive choices: Role models who make choices that are for the good of the family/team/organization, that are inclusive and informed, send messages that are clear about the right and wrong way of doing things. Good role models ask for input and weigh the pros and cons to making any decision.
- Practice Self-control: Role models need to stay in control of their temper; children will learn how to manage extreme emotions from the people they are influenced by. Model self-control for your children by remaining calm and talking through a problem or giving yourself a time-out until you have a better handle on your emotions.
- Show Compassion: through helpful behaviours role models show empathy and compassion to those who are less fortunate or struggling to overcome some adversity.
A positive role model serves as a guide and a mentor. Look for these features in your child's coaches, teachers, neighbours and friend's parents. Help surround your children with opportunities for them to be in front of people who possess good role modeling traits as often as you can. And of course, model these characteristics for your child too.