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ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Role models are an important part of a child’s development and often play a role in mapping out their future. Often, the first role models children encounter are their parents. It is important for parents to set the right examples for their children to follow.

Building the Foundation

Donna Gullatte, an Alabama Extension urban family and child development regional agent, said parents are responsible for building the foundational information that children need to become successful adults.

“Parents not only teach their children how to talk and walk but also life’s important values and how to make wise decisions,” Gullatte said. “It is also important for parents to show children how to appreciate and respect all families and cultural differences.”

National 4-H youth development programs have proven that children who grow up with positive role models generally make better decisions. They are also less likely to compromise their values and are equipped to handle negative influences from peers and/or social media.

Because of this huge responsibility, parents have probably found parenting a challenge at one time or another.

“Parents must be patient as their children learn to grasp life lessons,” Gullatte said. “Remember, no one is perfect, and we all make mistakes.”

Being a Positive Role Model

By definition a positive role model is an individual that people want to imitate. Role models are usually people who display good values, strive to achieve greatness and inspire others to reach their full potential.

“Being a positive parent role model means people should strive to become better versions of themselves,” she said.

Gullatte offers the following tips on being a positive role model in a child’s life.

  • Help children focus on the positive.
  • Make sure there is good verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Help children feel and see genuine support and a sense of community.
  • Display respect, kindness and compassion.
  • Practice respect and tolerance to provide clear standards of acceptable behavior.
  • Develop fun and interactive family bonding moments that share the interest of all family members.

More Information

In observance of National Parent Leadership Month, take the necessary steps to become a positive role model in a child’s life. For more information, read the content piece Parents as Role Models. Also, visit www.aces.edu or contact Gullatte at (256) 536-4779 to learn more about positive mentoring for youth.

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