Inspirational Role Models for Children

Monday, November 29, 2010

When we are out doing our prevention activities, we often have the opportunity to speak to different groups, e.g. parents, youth, professionals, community members...anyone who will listen. While talking with groups, we always make a point to mention that it is a myth that all abused children become abusive adults. It makes us crazy to hear “children will parent as they are parented”. That’s not necessarily true at all. In fact most children, who are abused, do not grow up and become abusive later in life. Why? Well, it’s hard to know all of the factors associated with this statement, but we do know that one of the primary reasons is that many children who are growing up in less than ideal circumstances usually have at least one adult in their lives who is making a difference. Role models do not have to be sports stars or celebrities, even though that is who we primarily think of when we hear the term “role model”. Often the most important person in a child’s life is someone who knows the child, cares about them, and supports them in a nurturing and loving way. It’s someone to whom the child can look for guidance and appropriate responses to life’s problems. It can be a parent, teacher, neighbor, friend, uncle, grandparent…anyone who can offer that child a positive example of adult behavior. Children thrive on love and attention, and they look to us to teach them about making good choices and responding to adversity. Any of us can make that kind of impact on a child; we don’t have to be a celebrity…just a caring person who is willing to get involved and become that role model.

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