A role model is a person whose behavior and attitude are imitated by other people. Children who have good, strong role models to follow will have a better chance of developing a positive lifestyle. As a parent, we’re already a role model for our child. Every time we say something, take an action or have a reaction to someone or something, our child is observing and imitating our behavior. Our children will always watch what we do. They see how we handle stress. They watch how we treat other people. They observe how we deal with our feelings. They soak in all that information like little sponges. So even when you think your child isn’t paying attention, it’s still essential to be a positive role model for your child.

As infants, they will imitate and this is how children gain language skills and eventually learn to talk. Preschoolers begin to understand and act out the cause and effect of interpersonal relationships through observation. And even teenagers are listening to your words and observing your actions, examining how you handle everything from personal relationships to stress to career disappointments. For example, as adult we should show respect to others because one of the first things children learn is how to talk to others in proper and polite way. If they see the adults who become their role model treat others in a demeaning way, children will automatically do the same. It is not just enough to tell children that it is important to respect others as we need to see how it is done. Teaching by example is often easier and more effective than forcing children to obey rules by scaring, threatening, or tempting them with rewards. Whether you’re teaching an infant how to talk or struggling to communicate with your teenager, setting a positive example for your children is simply a fantastic way to draw the best out of them and to support their life-long learning.

Meanwhile, life-long learning means to be interested in many aspects of life, whether it is music, outdoor sports, current events or plumbing. When children see that their parents show interest and sometimes proficiency in many things, they get the courage to get out of their comfort zone and explore other activities. He or she will learn and always try to make good decisions about lifestyle choices such as food, exercise, reading, making conversation and other things that children should learn. This is another way for us to become their positive role model as well. And at the end the child will notice the positive attitude and get the message that making an effort is more important than perfection.

written by Yenti Handala, 
Center Director of Tutor Time Pluit