In my blog “Who is your Child’s Role Model” I discuss the survey results that show that 50% of teenagers view a relative as a role model. Which means that parents are often their own child’s role models. So as a parent it is important that you are a good role model for your child. Here are ten ways that you can be a positive role model for your child.
1. Share your values. Let your child know what your stand is on things like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and premarital sex. Having a value system like religion is also important. A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that religious activity and positive role models had the greatest impact on teens not using tobacco.
2. Demonstrate self-esteem. If you are not confident and happy with yourself your child will probably feel the same way about themselves. Don’t make negative remarks about yourself. It is also important that you express happiness with your body image as Catherine Ipcizade talked about in a recent blog. If you do diet, do it for health reasons, not because you want to look thin.
3. Be independent. Don’t always be worried about having the latest and greatest. Show your child by example that you don’t have to follow the fads to be happy. Possessions do not determine the value of a person.
4. Use medications carefully. Prescription drug abuse among teens is on the rise. According to the FDA it is rising at a rate of 25% a year since 2001. As a parent it is important that you use medications carefully and responsibility. Do not allow your self to rely on drugs. Show your child that medication should only be used when necessary and prescribed by a doctor.
5. Drink responsibly. If you do drink alcohol, drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Keep alcohol locked up. Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink. Never allow or encourage your teenager to drink.
6. Deal with stress. Show your child positive ways to deal with stress. Everyone has stressful events in their life it is how you deal with the stress that makes a difference. If you turn to drugs, alcohol, or become violent your child will too. Instead use positive ways to deal with stress like exercise, a hot bath, reading a good book, or doing something else that you enjoy.
7. Share your successes and failures. When you are successful share the experience with your child. Explain what you did to obtain your success. It is also important to let your child know that things don’t always turn out the way that you want them too. Failing at something does not make you a bad person. You can always try again.
8. Show your love. Let your child know that you love them unconditionally. You may not always be happy with their behavior but you still love them. Even if your teenager expresses disgust at your attempts to show affection they secretly desire it.
9. Discuss the media. Talk to your child about how the media portrays alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and sex. Discuss with your child how the media portrays the activities as fun and exciting but fails to show the consequences. They don’t show the accident or throwing up after a night of drinking. The teenage girl forced to drop out of school because she is pregnant, or the boy who dies from a drug overdose. It is also important to discuss the media’s portrayal of beauty. Only 55 percent of teenage girls surveyed by the Gillette Company believed that magazines “promote unrealistic images” of women. Consequently 52 percent felt that “physical appearance was very important to feeling good about themselves.”
10. Be involved. The National PTA Society encourages parents to be involved in their child’s school and activities. As you get involved in your child’s education you are showing them that you value education.