The Importance of Being a Role Model
Modeling the behavior you want to see in your children works better than telling them not to do the behavior that you don’t want to see.
Children need clear examples of how to act in all sorts of situations, and they learn from you first.
Kids Copy Everything
Everything – from how you hold your fork,
To the types of food you like,
To how optimistic you are about the things happening to you each day –
these are things kids pick up on and emulate.
Even if they don’t fully understand it, they love to copy what you are doing.
Think about how a two or three-year-old will say “thank you” and “please”
and other words that you also use when you are dealing with others.
Or how a four-year-old will pat the back of an injured playmate just like their mom or dad does for them.
Think of some things your child started doing just by watching others around them.
That proves that being a role model is crucial for raising an optimistic child.
Modeling Starts Young
Raising a child who is optimistic starts from the age that they begin observing the behavior of people around them and copying it.
You probably only notice it when they do something embarrassing in public,
but not so much when they’re not being embarrassing.
But don’t worry!
even if you’ve not done a great job of modeling the behavior you value in the past,
And even if you’re not the most optimistic person yourself,
both of you can learn to be more optimistic together.
But you must start with yourself first because your child looks to you as an example of how to be human.
Know How Your Behavior Impacts Your Child
To be a role model for your child,
it’s important to realize how your actions affect them and how important it is
so that you can eliminate your own misdirection and bad habits before working on theirs.
Good role models know that they are role models and that the children are watching and copying their every move.
As a parent, you’re automatically a role model.
You’re the main role model.
As the primary role model for your child,
whether you want to be or not,
it’s imperative that you realize that this is how your child learns to live a meaningful life.
Live with honor, integrity, honesty, and hope for the future.
Your life is the example they will look at to inform their own behavior and life.
Role Models Sometimes Make Mistakes
Even as a role model, you will sometimes make mistakes.
However, this is another opportunity for you to become a great role model for your child by demonstrating how you handle making a mistake.
Parents who own up to their mistakes,
tell their families and children they are sorry,
and seek to make amends for the damage the error caused,
are teaching their children valuable lessons that cannot be taught in any other way effectively.
As a parent who recognizes the impact your behavior has on your children right now,
you know the unique power you possess to help your child live a happier and more fulfilled life.
Study after study shows that people who are more optimistic report being happier.
And if you can improve your child’s outlook on life so that they are more satisfied by merely modeling optimism over pessimism to them,
why wouldn’t you do it?
It really does make a huge difference.
How to Change Your Child’s Explanatory Style
As mentioned above, pessimism and optimism are how you view the things that happen to you each day.
If you’re pessimistic, you tend to see the worst of any situation and you may not have any hope of a better future due to those types of thoughts.
If you’re optimistic, you tend to see good things even when it’s not going perfectly, and you imagine a bright future regardless of proof to the contrary.
Because unfettered optimism can cause some kids to make poor choices,
it can be tempting not to curb pessimistic explanatory styles,
but the fact remains that studies show that children who are more optimistic,
as well as adults who are more optimistic,
tend to live more fulfilling and happier lives than their pessimistic counterparts.
In short, a child who is optimistic will explain how they see things using positive language and emotions,
while a pessimistic child will use negative language and emotions when telling people how they see things.
If your child tends to the pessimistic side,
you can teach them to turn those thoughts and ideas around to make them more positive.
The pessimistic child may often say things like,
“it’s my fault,”
“I couldn’t help it,”
“I’ll never be able to do this or that,”
“I’m bad at math, science, sports,”
“Everyone is mean,”
“everyone hates me,”
“it’s too hot,” and so on.
And the worst of all: “That’s just how things are.”
They may also get frustrated quickly when they are trying to do new things.
For example, if they are trying to learn math, they may get upset during homework and claim through tears that they will never, ever, ever get it.
This is the hallmark of the pessimistic child: that whatever it is, it’s not going to work, they can’t figure it out, and there is no use – in their mind.
Usually, this type of attitude has to do with the fact that they feel powerless over themselves
Therefore believe they are also helpless in the situations they face in day-to-day life – from getting ready for school, to doing homework, to playing with friends, and more.
Sadly, the negativity will permeate all aspects of life non-stop unless someone intervenes and tries to help guide the child to start seeing the world through a more positive lens.
Thankfully, you can start right now by helping your child see things differently once you’re aware of their tendency to be pessimistic about everything.