Why Children Need Role Models

Written by theresa pickett | 13/05/2017
Why Children Need Role Models
Children imitate each other's behaviour from a young age. Break the cycle of peer pressure by being present in your child's life. (children image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Children need role models to become emotionally mature and culturally enriched human beings. Having a strong role model gives a child a sense of security and comfort that her life has purpose, which keeps her away from risky behaviour when she grows to be a teen. Making sure that a child has a role model is important through her formative toddler years and continues to affect her when she becomes a married adult. Role models significantly influence children's futures, and they keep them on the path to success.


Why Children Need Role Models
Positive role models teach children that school is the starting place to changing the world and inspiring others. (child"s mini chalkboard - apple image by samantha grandy from Fotolia.com)

Encourage children to stay in school to gain the skills necessary to succeed. Writer for Mississippi State University Keryn Page says, "Positive adult role models decrease the chances a student will drop out of high school." Parents and other community members who stay engaged in a child's life teach that child the value of an education and that school is a safe place to express oneself. Role models demonstrate that attending school gives children a group of friends and extra-curricular activities, which helps children enjoy school. They motivate children that dropping out of school is not an option for people who want to become someone, and they motivate them to improve their understanding of the world by staying in school.


Why Children Need Role Models
If a child looks up to a role model who demonstrates that a new vegetable is tasty, she might find herself eating something she would have otherwise rejected. (Vegetable casserole and vegetables image by Elzbieta Sekowska from Fotolia.com)

Promote healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. MyPyramid provides ten tips for being a child's healthy role model. For instance, "Walk, run and play with your child---instead of sitting on the sidelines... Try new foods yourself." Joining a child in healthy activities teaches her that adults practice what they preach, and it helps her respect adults for making strong decisions. Adults who nag children to be healthy can come off as condescending, and they might be met with rebellion. Taking part in a healthy activity shows a child that the healthy behaviour is normal, and it is positive pressure that convinces a child to be healthy.

Risky Behavior

Why Children Need Role Models
Having regular family activities helps children learn to stay away from risky behaviour. (family image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Provide a child with positive role models to shelter her from negative influences. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration's National Mental Health Information Center, "Warm family relationships protect children from violence and many other risky behaviours." Teaching children that violence and risky behaviours are not acceptable makes a difference in their choices. Knowing that someone they respect stands up against risky behaviour shows them that they should make similar decisions.


Why Children Need Role Models
The treatment a husband and wife show each other resonates into their child's relationships. (marriage image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com)

Maintain a strong marriage to help a child's future. According to freelance writer Heather Long, "Children benefit from their parents interactions as a couple. They benefit from the existence of mutual love and respect. They benefit from the kindness and the compassion they witness. They even benefit from the problems that you have as a couple and your efforts to repair your relationship." A loving household teaches a child that she comes from a happy home and that relationships take maintenance. Coming from a household with a strong marriage gives a child skills that sustain her through her own marriage by demonstrating that she must treat a significant other with the same respect that she witnessed in her home.


Why Children Need Role Models
Help a toddler learn correct behaviour by modelling the behaviour that she needs to display. (Happy Toddler image by Mary Beth Granger from Fotolia.com)

Start filling children's lives with role models from a young age. According to Center for Child Well-being, "By 12 months, your baby will try to copy what she sees others doing. From the tone of your voice, to the foods you eat, to how you brush your teeth, your baby will try to imitate everything you do... Habits she forms at an early age are more likely to stick with her as she gets older." Toddlers aged two to three years can be particularly difficult to discipline. They begin to learn the meaning of the word no, and they love using it. The toddler years are also important for teaching kids meaningful life lessons, and that they must become accustomed to strong habits. Being a role model for certain activities shows toddlers that they should engage in the activity too, and it decreases the likelihood that they will say no by throwing a fit. Role models give toddlers structure during formative years, and they help pave the road to appropriate behaviour later in life.

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