The, “Do as I say, not as I do” routine isn’t really an effective way to parent. As nice as it would be to tell your kids how to be a model adult and have them listen to what you say, raising children just isn’t that easy. Whether you know it or not, your children are paying attention to your every move. It is often what they see that they will model their lives after, no matter how much you may demand they do the opposite. This is why it is imperative for parents to practice being positive role models in their children’s lives.
Teens are Impressionable
Though kids pick up on things from their parents long before they reach the age of 13, it is during the teenage years where they are watching most closely. During adolescence, your child is going through a lot. They’re trying to figure out who they are as individuals and how that fits in with their peers. It is during these years that they will often test the waters and push their limits to discover a sense of self.
No lecture or punishment in the world will be as instrumental in guiding your teen through this difficult time in life like being a role model can. Your teen (even though they may not admit it out loud) admires you and will often look to you to figure out how to navigate life. The example they see doesn’t have to be perfect, however, it should be your best. Here are some ways to be a better role model for your teen.
- Kick Your Bad Habits – Start by taking a long hard look in the mirror. Be honest about some of the things that you do that are bad habits. This might include eating a lot of junk, not getting good sleep, partying all the time, using drugs and alcohol, or even having a messy or cluttered home. Chances are you wouldn’t want your teen doing any of this, so it’s best you stop as well. You can enroll in something like Above It All’s California alcohol treatment program to get sober, reduce your partying time to once or twice a month, set a regular bedtime, get your home clean and organized, and incorporate healthier food options into your weekly meal plans.
- Love Yourself – Self-esteem, confidence, and self-image are major areas of life your teenager will deal with. As they try to relate their own physical traits and personality to their friends, it can lead to emotional and physical struggles. If you too feel bad about who you are, it will only trickle down to your teen. Start practicing self-care and self-love tactics now. Make sure you are always clean and fresh, take the extra time to get dressed and groomed, smile more often, and show pride (not cockiness) in who you are as a person. Your teen will see this and try to repeat the same.
- Be Kind to Others – Generosity goes a long way in life and is a characteristic that all people should have more of. Show your teenager the importance of being kind to everyone despite their circumstances or background. Speaking kindly, donating money and time, doing good deeds for others, and more can show your child the goodness that comes from simply being kind to others.
- Have Positive Relationships – You can’t expect your teen to stay away from negative people if you’re not doing it yourself. You’ll need to surround yourself with positive people and try to show your child examples of healthy relationships with friends and significant others. If you have people in your social circle that behave in a way you wouldn’t want your children to, it is best you put some distance between you.
- Follow Your Dreams – More than anything you want your children to grow up and pursue their wildest dreams. If this is what you wish to inspire, you can’t very well live a mundane life and complain every step of the way. Follow your own dreams or passions and allow your children to see the happiness and joy it brings to your life. Whether it’s going back to school, starting a business, or turning a favorite hobby into a career your children will admire what you’ve done and want to follow suit.
Parenting teens is in no way an easy process, but it is very pertinent to their future. If you wish for your teens to become outstanding citizens and overall good people, it is necessary for you to lead by example. No matter where you are in life or how you feel about yourself, you can begin to make positive changes in your own life that your teen can be proud of and encouraged to follow.