How to Be a Role Model For Your Kids Without Being Perfect

Role models are all around us.  They have the power to inspire us to greatness – or to lead us down the wrong path. Our children are little sponges that absorb everything around them. So as parents, it’s important that we set a good example for our little ones. It’s also equally important that we are selective about the people in our lives that have the power to influence our children.

When our children are very young, we have the power to say who we want them exposed to, and whether or not these influences are potentially positive role models. That changes once they head off to preschool, and we have little control over the teachers and peers that they interact with.

As parents, we not only have an obligation to be good role models, but we also have a responsibility to teach our children how to recognize when those around them are not setting a good example, and help them learn to make wise decisions.

Being a positive influence in other people’s lives feels great and it is a worthy goal that we should all aspire to. But being a good influence in our own children’s lives is a goal that all parents must strive to achieve every single moment.

But how do we achieve this goal without putting too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect? And if we can’t always be a shining example for our little people, then what?

The Good and the Bad

First, it’s important that we make a distinction between “good” role models and “bad” role models.  Good role models are not necessarily perfect pod people that never fail or never have bad hair days.  Good role models are simply human beings that show up for life every day, knowing that their choices have the power to impact the lives of everyone around them – thus they do their best to be a good influence.

Bad role models, on the other hand, don’t make good or informed decisions and cannot make the connection that their choices or negative behaviors have the power to affect the people in their lives. Usually this is because they are too self-involved or unaware to either notice or care.

We may cognitively know that we want to be a good role model for our little humans, but perhaps we are unclear about how to accomplish that goal.

Be the Change

You know you want to be a shining example for your little ones on a daily basis. But how do you achieve that, exactly?

Know Yourself: It’s hard to be a leader for others if we are unclear about where we are heading in our own life.  Do something every day to evolve and grow in your journey here on Earth and try to leave this world a better place.

Follow Your Passion:  Of course most of us can’t run off and become a pop star, but, we can teach our children how to follow their own passions by letting them witness us doing something that we do love.  So find something that brings you joy and do it as much as time allows.

Know Your Limitations: Don’t overextend yourself and people-please.  Sometimes we have all the best intentions in the world to do something, but don’t manage our time to allow for it. Over time, children can become jaded by the disappointment of empty promises.  Parents have to do their best to follow through and not make promises that they can’t keep.

Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes: Being flawed is part of being human. We make mistakes and our children will eventually make their own mistakes. When we forgive ourselves and others for making mistakes, we are showing our children that we don’t expect perfection from them. We allow them to be imperfect human beings.

Be All That You Can Be: Set goals that you can realistically achieve so your children can learn to have a strategy for success.  For example, tell them that you are going to build a bookcase for their bedroom, and then let them assist you as you successfully complete this goal.  They will learn that success comes when you have a plan and follow it through.

Admit When You Are Wrong: The worse thing we can ever teach our children is that they are always right.  NO ONE likes to be around self-righteous people. If you make a mistake, then have the integrity to admit it in front of your children and apologize.

Have Integrity and Be Honest: If we want to teach our little ones to be honest, then we have to teach by example. So if the barista at Starbucks gives you back the wrong change, make sure that your child watches you acknowledging that she made a mistake and return the money with a smile.

Show Compassion to Others: Teaching our children how to have empathy and compassion for others is one of the most profound lessons that we can teach our little people. We may not believe in giving money to a homeless person, but we don’t have to say something that puts them down. Simply smiling at them with kindness and compassion will teach our child a valuable lesson about the importance of human dignity.

Being a good role model for our little ones not only gives them someone to follow and aspire to, but it also teaches them an equally valuable lesson about who not to follow.  And that is something that all parents can feel good about.

Who have been some of the best role models in your childhood, and what have they taught you? Share your stories with us in the comments below!

Tags : parenting   role models   conscious parenting   mindful parenting   

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