Parents, or other family members, tend to be the most common role models for children and adolescents. Parental behavior can act as a crucial determinant for the uptake of healthy lifestyle behaviors among children and adolescents. Parents are considered important role models regarding health-promoting or health-compromising behaviors.
In most cases, words matter less than acts. Even though parents may impose rules in the house, for example about healthy eating habits, etc., children and adolescents may not follow them. It is important that all family members, including adults follow the family rules, to work well. In this way, children and adolescents will not get mixed messages and imitate their parents and behave as expected.
How do you talk about and treat your family members, neighbors and even yourself? Would you say hello on the street or hold a door for someone? Your child is learning how to value other people and institutions by watching your example. They also take cues on self-worth from you.
Do you wish your child would talk to you more? Or choose to speak instead of scream? Consider your own use of words…do you use them to hurt, criticise or argue with others? Do you listen to your child without interrupting? Be mindful of how and when you communicate.
Is your child convinced he’s going to fail a class, not make the team or lose a friend? Consider the energy in your own home. Do you focus on the positive? The next time you burn dinner, think before reacting. Then remember to laugh and suggest you feel lucky for the chance to order out.
Are you struggling to get your child to eat healthier foods or stop watching so much TV? Show them how! Sit down and share healthy meals and snacks with them, reduce your own TV time and plan outdoor activities you can do together, like a walk in the evening or a bike ride.
Is your child quick to lose his temper, throw a tantrum or cry out of frustration? Responding to stress, anger or hurt feelings is a valuable tool that you can model for your child. When faced with a challenge, try to remain calm, take a deep breath and talk through the issue.