As a child grows through adolescence and well into adulthood, role models will have a direct impact on his life. We know this because of the crucial studies conducted in the fields of Social Learning and Social Constructivism. From a very young age, a child’s idea of himself and the world around him begins to form with the help of exemplary icons he can identify with. The combination of inward reflection and external influence affect the advancement of his character, standards and life ethics.
How A Role Model Influences A Child’s Thinking
Children learn a lot from watching and mimicking the behavior of others around them. Peers, parents, family, teachers and even television stars all play an important part in a child’s growth. Negative role modeling, however, can have the same effect as its positive counterpart and a child is likely to imitate whichever conduct is modeled prevalently in his life. This is the reason so many parents and psychologists alike feel that good role models are of absolute importance to a child’s well-being and positive development. With that said, a set of bad role models will not necessarily mean that a child cannot become a successful person. The child’s own intrinsic nature will be a true indicator of his ultimate potential. Some children are natural problem solvers and require less influence whereas others need a bit of a push in the right direction.
How A Child’s Thinking Influences The Way He Embraces Good Example
Every child is already pre-disposed to a certain set of paradigms which hold the primary position in a youth’s choice of a role model. This choice is made largely in accordance with how the child views both himself and the role model’s position in his life, for example, what the role model can offer (or teach) the child.
So…Where Does One Find These Great Role Models?
Not everyone holds to the values and standards that you do as an individual. The best place to find a good role model is right at home. Being a good example for a child will not only help them better themselves, it will better you as an adult too. Teachers, friends, and family can also add to the richness of a child’s life when offering constructive input. Every now and then, good icons are found in the most unlikely of places and turn out to be the most unlikely people.
Parents As Role Models
Even when a child does not recognize the parent as a direct role model, the manner in which the parent displays certain behavior will still be taken in by the child. Take, for example, anger; if a parent is angry, negative modeling would include loss of temper and shouting, possibly even worse. Positive modeling (and great parenting) would see the parent take a moment to reflect before acting on his anger. The child might not immediately register this, but consistent modeling of good behavior and stable thinking patterns will have an uplifting effect on the child’s emotional well-being. Parents spend much of their time with children and this means that they are the primary unintentional role models in a child’s life.
Teachers As Role Models
Teachers have proven to be excellent exemplars, tackling problems that parents may not always be able to get see. Not only do teachers teach their academic curriculums, they also put forward a host of life-skills for a child to learn, skills that are not connected to the parent per se. When a teacher recognizes potential in a student, it can go a long way to helping the child gain the confidence he needs to mature into a self-sufficient being. Thus, the teacher’s role as a model is vital beyond doubt.
Friends As Role Models
We mostly consider peer pressure to be negative. It’s not entirely impossible for peer pressure to also be something positive, though. Often times, a child will choose to aim higher, do better or see things differently because of a friend’s input. This might not always be a direct influence on the part of the friend acting as role model, but the fact remains that many children want to mimic behaviors they admire.
Mentors As Role Models
A positive mentor is someone who is objective and helps a child to identify life goals, also encouraging the child to stay on track with those goals. Parents can become mentors, even a close relative or family friend will fit the bill, but it is essentially the child who will decide. Perhaps the greatest advantage that a mentor can offer a child is confidence and belief in the child’s capabilities, effectively channeling the child’s capacity in a certain direction. A great mentor will direct this potential right back to the child, encouraging him to become self-reliant and self-assured.
The Outside World As Role Models
With all the hype around the celebrity stars, the idea of finding a good icon here is a bit shaky to most parents. Often, children will pick a role model that suits their current or future goals. A young person is likely to look up to a star that has made it big or is flawlessly beautiful. Perhaps a star who seems to “have it all”. These are not necessarily bad role models for a child, but they certainly don’t present the full truth of the situation. What we see of the stars and what they portray is not always an accurate depiction of what life is. This means that a child can aim to be like a star because of the noticeable outward advantages, but still fall short of his or her goals as they are not based on proper understanding.
It suffices to say that role models form an integral part of a child’s learning process, and it’s likely that a child will have a multitude of sources that he leans on for guidance. Some may give the child a generalized basis for growth and maturity, whereas other role models may be picked for the primary purpose of learning one specific behavioral approach. A child may not even know he has selected a role model to emulate, but is simply influenced by the way the mentioned person conducts his living and thinking. Ultimately, creating opportunities for a child to find and identify with great icons is of vital consequence to his development.