Raising children is a full-time job. And your job description is that you have to cultivate a well-rounded human being. But no one will tell you how to do it. No one will give you the secret ingredients that go into making an exceptional human. And as in a job, you want to be the ‘employee of the year,’ in parenting, you want to be ‘best parent ever.’
But being a role model parent is not going to be easy. There are a lot of things you may have to adapt to that you never thought of before. But once you are set on becoming an influencer, you can do it, and here is how.
Role models don’t go and tell everyone what to do.
“My role model didn’t tell me, he showed me.” Anonymous
You have made it as a role model parent when people get what you want to say without you having to tell it directly. Let your actions speak for themselves. Your children are more observant than you think. They pick up even the slightest change or habit from you that, sometimes, even you did not know you had. So, when you want them to learn something from you, all you have to do is embrace that value in yourself and consciously try to practice it.
Children will not like to be told what to do. Instead, they like it when they discover something themselves. And when the discovery is appreciated by others, they are inspired to do more of it. So, next time you want to teach them something, show them. It will bring peace to your home and will accomplish your goal.
Let kids decide for themselves.
Handing your children everything in a platter is not the solution. You are not influencing them, but you are doing it for them. That will have quite the opposite effect of what you wanted them to be. Children have their own mind and views. They are individual human beings who have their own set of unique skills and attributes. Just as one key does not fit all, in the same way, one piece of advice does not suit all.
You have to provide them an option to learn it from you, but you can’t force them into learning it. They will never listen if you make it a compulsion. Instead, let them choose, let them feel the need for what you have been trying to teach them. Once they stumble across it on their own, they will come to you themselves to learn. This way, they understand, and you don’t have to become a villain. It is a win-win situation.
Lead a life that is a lesson in itself.
“Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.” -Anonymous
You have to watch your every step because your kids are. They will learn anything and everything you do. No matter if it is good or bad, they will copy it. So, make it worthwhile for them. Let everything that you do be filled with values for them. Every moment is a teachable moment.
Make your life an example. Always try and do the right thing consciously. There are moments in your life when you just feel like taking the shortcut. But, these are the defining moments for you. These are the moments if you do it the right way, your life becomes a lesson rather than just remaining as an incident that has happened with you.
The focus should be inwards, not outwards.
When you want to be an influencer, you need to pivot all your attention inside you. You have to think, ‘what can I do more to improve?’ rather than ‘what can I teach my child so that he/she improves?’ The whole point of being a role model parent was that you inspire your children to be the best versions of themselves. And how do we achieve that? By striving to be the best edition of ourselves.
When you stop trying to make yourself better, you stop being an inspiration. You just become a stagnant pool of views and ideas that haven’t been polished in a long time.
Be receptive to feedback.
When you keep on doing your job at godspeed without even thinking about its effects, you are in trouble. When you are doing something, you need to know whether you are doing it the right way or not. Even hard work is futile if not channeled in the right direction. And how will you know whether you are doing it right or not? Easy, you ask for feedback. Now, here you cannot expect only good things.
There may be some areas where you might be struggling (no one is perfect after all). But did not know about it. Feedback will introduce you to those areas. So when someone is giving honest feedback, don’t get upset if you don’t like what you are hearing. Look on the brighter side, you know your weak points now, and now, you can work on them.
It is not going to be a piece of cake, this role modeling thing. You have to be true to yourself (the harshest kind of truth). In the end, you should be able to look yourself in the eye and know that you did the right thing. Moreover, your children are going to ask you tricky questions along the way. Make sure that you give them the right answers. There is no reason to lie or hide the truth from them.
The way you conduct yourself is a very big lesson for your children. When you are settling differences with others, you need to be mindful of your approach. Being calm in the face of adversity is what will make you stand apart. It is not easy to master it, but there is nothing practice can’t make perfect.
Have a cool head when you are in tough situations. It will give you better answers. Don’t panic or get frustrated around your children. That negative energy latches onto them, and they also suffer.
These are the ways in which you can be an influencer for your child. In a nutshell, you have to do everything that you want your children to learn. And they will. When they see it happen practically, they will also apply it in their lives.