When it comes to being a good role model, what is it that makes the biggest impression on a child? Is it about showing respect? Apologizing when we’re wrong? Being confident? Is it a mix of all of these things, or is it the way in which we demonstrate them? If you’re a teacher or parent and you’re struggling with getting your children to listen to you, it may be time to try a different tact entirely.
Advice Isn’t Always Going to Work
Words don’t always stick, no matter how much we wish they would. If you attempt to verbally explain right and wrong behaviour, that advice could quickly go in one ear and out the other. Think about your own life and this makes more sense. If you have a friend or relative that loves giving you advice on a constant basis, you know exactly how this feels. Over time, that advice just becomes white noise.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t explain things to your child. But there is a difference between giving advice and being a good role model. Often, children don’t listen to what you say, but they are still watching what you do. Being a good role model is not so much about the things you say to your children, but about the example you set for them on a daily basis.
Showing the Decision Process
Talking directly to your child may not always be the best way to go about being a good role model, but talking to yourself can be very effective. When you have an issue that needs to be worked out, instead of keeping it in your head, talk about it to yourself. Your child will listen to your deliberations in a way that he or she perhaps wouldn’t if you were speaking directly to them.
This method has the added benefit of teaching your child how to work through problems as they get older. Problem-solving skills are essential early on, since one bad decision can produce long-lasting effects in a child’s life. If you can teach your child how to work through a problem, there is less of a chance they will make a poor decision.
Being a Good Role Model Is All About Doing
It’s what we do as adults that make the biggest difference in a child’s life. The greatest role models are people who have accomplished things through years of hard work. They have demonstrated that they can walk the walk, and that above all else is what a child listens to.
If you want a child to develop respect, show respect to others. If you want them to have confidence in themselves, you need to have confidence in yourself as well. This is a staple of being a good role model, and time and again it has proven to be the most effective method. In other words: be who you want your children to be.