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Children need role models to look up to and inspire them in life. Parents and family members are children's first role models, whether they realise it or not.
When you were young you might have had special people that you looked up to. Children today need these kind of people too. They might be:
- mum, dad, brothers, sisters
- Elders, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, family friends
- community leaders
- teachers, coaches
- people in the media - sportspeople, actors, singers, artists
- inspiring people from all walks of life - past or present.
Children look up to parents and family members and copy what they do. Some ways to be a good role model are to:
- be positive about life
- talk about the good things in people
- stay calm, even if you feel upset
- deal with problems in the best way you can
- admit when you have made mistakes
- have a healthy lifestyle.
Think about the messages you are giving if you use drugs, or are violent or racist.
Our children have what it takes to achieve great success in life. Good role models can help them get there!
If children look up to people who you think might not be a positive influence, talk with them about:
- who they admire and why
- the challenges people face and how they deal with them
- how people's choices affected them and others. Children learn they can choose different paths in life.
Mentors are people who spend time with children who would benefit from having someone to look up to. They could be someone you know and trust or someone from a mentoring service. They might do activities with the children or just spend time with them.
- Check with your child's school. Some offer mentoring programs for students.
- There may be someone in your community or family that can mentor your child.
There are services that link children with mentors:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters and Connect-4 Group Mentoring:
- Phone 8203 9400 - matching adults with disadvantaged young people aged 7 to 17 years
- The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) - mentoring for Aboriginal high school and university students
When you choose a mentor, make sure they are trustworthy and will have a positive influence on your child.