Parent Talk: Positive, responsible role modeling shows kids proper behavior |

Parent Talk: Positive, responsible role modeling shows kids proper behavior

Lindsay Lofaro
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Parent Talk

It is very important that youth have role models. Role models are individuals who can show youth how to be a positive, caring individual; someone who is consistent in modeling this behavior.

The Search Institute describes key “developmental assets” as the relationships, opportunities and personal qualities that young people need to avoid risks and to thrive. Included in these developmental assets are:

• Families that provide high levels of love and support.

• Youth who have at least three or more nonparent adults who offer support.

• Parents, other adults and peers modeling positive, responsible behavior.

It is important that parents understand that they are a role model to their child. Other adults, older children and siblings living in the home are also role models, whether they know it or not.

Regardless of the other adult or peer role models a child has in their life, the behaviors and attitudes modeled at home are magnified in the eyes of that child. Parents are the first role model that they have.

According to author Vanessa J. Bonnette, “The simple act of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and being kind to people during the course of the day greatly influences their behavior. If you speak and act negatively in these situations, your children will learn do the same and will repeat it in the school and social environment.

“Likewise, if you lack discipline, smoke, drink alcohol and have no self-respect, then your children are more than likely to repeat your behavior.”

Children watch their parents in order to learn how to act themselves, to learn what behaviors are appropriate in certain situations and what is right and wrong. How a child acts and behaves is most likely a reflection of parental role modeling.

It is important that parents are aware of their actions and words in front of their children. As mentioned above, it is also important that everyone else in the home is aware of these actions and words, too.

Decide as a family what you will model in front of the small children in the home and when certain conversations and behaviors are best done behind a closed door.

Bonnette writes, “Positive influences are likewise observed – healthy lifestyle choices, relaxed atmosphere and good conversation around a dinner table, being kind and respectful towards your spouse or partner every day – all set positive examples which will be adopted by your children.”

While it is important for parents and older siblings to be positive role models, studies have shown that the more positive adults a child has in their life, the more successful this youth will be.

Other positive adults can include grandparents, uncles and aunts, spiritual or religious leaders, neighbors, friends of the parents, and teachers.

Help your child to be the best that he or she can be by engaging the adult role models in their life today.

For more information on effective adult role models for children, call Lindsay Lofaro at the Buddy Program, 927-1001.

– “Parent Talk” appears on the first and third Saturdays of the month. The column is the result of YouthZone, The Buddy Program, Family Visitor Programs, Kids First and Roaring Fork Family Resource Centers teaming up to provide parents with information and resources about strengthening family relationships.

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