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Role Models Wanted. Parents Only Please!

Apr 11, 2008
Who are your child's role models? Whether you realize it or not, the number one role model in your kids' life is you. Nearly half of all young women look to their mothers as their role model and 46 percent of teens say their role model is a family member, not a pop icon or sports star. Adolescents who have positive parental role models are more likely to do well in school and have higher self-esteem; they also are less likely to abuse substances or become involved in abusive relationships or inappropriate online behaviors.

What does this mean for you as a parent? It means that you have the greatest job in the world and you have more influence for good than maybe you thought you did. By setting a good example of healthy living, positive self-image, and by setting positive, healthy boundaries of your own, you can help your child make healthy choices in his life. The other area that is one of the greatest tools you have is communication.

Talk to your child about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, Internet safety, and sexuality, including the emotional and spiritual impact all of these activities can have on your child and their future. Letting your child know you are a safe place to go when they need to talk begins with you sharing with them where you stand on these and so many other issues.

The following tips can help you be a great role model for your child:

1. Share your values with your child in a way that is not going to be perceived as you trying to mold your child into who you are.
2. Demonstrate self-respect and self-esteem with healthy actions in all areas of your life, including your conduct on the Internet.
3. Be independent and adventurous about your life experience
4. If you take medications, talk about why you are taking them and how they help you. Do not abuse any drugs, even prescription.
5. If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly
6. When dealing with stress, allow your child to see you handing the situation in a healthy way
7. Share your successes, challenges, joys, tears and fears with your child. They will know that you will understand when it is time for them to share those same things with you.
8. Demonstrate love and affection for family and friends.
9. Discuss people of all cultures and backgrounds with your child and help them find an appreciation for human kind
10. Become interested and involved in your child's school and activities, particularly in the new age of technology. Don't be afraid to get involved in their online networking and cell phone activities. You will be amazed by how many opportunities you have to be a wonderful role model by helping them to learn how best to handle challenging text messages, online bullying or peer pressure.

Your values, life experiences, opinions, and example of self-love and communication carry a lot of weight with your child, even if they don't know or want to admit it.
About the Author
Greg Writer is the Founder/CEO of Children's Educational Network, a software company dedicated to empowering parents with tools and information to keep kids safe online. You can getfree parental control software at their web site
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