A look at any newsagent will confirm the popularity of celebrities for our young people. The ‘celebrity culture’ means our teenagers are targeted by TV shows, soap’s, magazines and movies.
Parents are Role Models too
Yet, parents are the primary role models and have the greatest influence on our children, so it is vital that we communicate our values and morals to them from an early age. ‘This family treat people with respect’. Children will do as you do; therefore never forget you are a role model for your children. Whether your interest is in sports or music or art; encourage and affirm your child in these and their own positive creative pursuits.
Celebrity,Body Image & our Teens
The celebrity culture is an influence on our children that we need to be aware of. Celebrities such as Cheryl Cole put our daughters under enormous pressure to be slim and attractive. Affirm your child’s physicality from an early age ‘your body is beautiful’ and try not to pass on your insecurities around your physicality onto your children. Parents need to model self care – good diet, exercise, dressing respectfully, aware of the messages they are sending their child. We blame the ‘sexualisation of children’ yet with our younger children, it’s often the parent buying the inappropriate clothes.
Talking about Sex with your Teen
How a parent views themselves sexually will also have a telling effect on their children’s sexual emergence. It is important that you are comfortable talking about sex or you will pass on your reluctance to your child. An editor of a leading teen magazine said recently ‘ if you are not influencing your child in the area of sexuality, you are probably the only one who is not’.
Talk ‘with’ not ‘at’ your Child
Open communication of our values is vital (self respect, sexual behaviour etc), and the importance of enjoying every stage before moving to the next phase. However, parents tend not to talk to children but instead they preach, judge, lecture, moralise and give advice. How do you feel when you are communicated to this way?. My response is to switch off and not engage with that person. This is an opportunity to reflect on how we can communicate our values more effectively.
Treat your children respectfully
Respectful communication emerges from someone who feels secure. When you communicate from here, you will listen, be fair, just, and open. Perhaps a more interesting question to ask your daughter is ‘What do you think of .. I am interested in your opinion’. Actively listen, without interruption. The answer may surprise you. Listening is the first act of communication, it makes the person feel respected and heard. Unfortunately, advice giving is the most common form of communication, yet it can leave the receiver feeling undermined, and certainly not listened to! A parent who moralises is sure to make their child feel it is unsafe to continue being open.
Top Parenting Tips:
- Parents have more influence than the media on children
- Use your influence to communicate your values with your child
- We are role models for our children; make sure we are positive ones!
- Parents need to ‘model’ for their child, good diet, exercise, appropriate dress
- Parents tend to preach, lecture, judge, advise, moralise and no one listens!
- Instead, listen first, ‘what do you think.. I am interested in your opinion..? makes the person feel respected and heard
- Soap’s and movie’s can be an opportunity to chat with your child!