9 Areas Where You Should be Setting a Positive Example for Your Teen

Role model exercise for your teen
Ariel Skelley / Blend Images / Getty Images

Teens learn from you based on what you do, rather than what you say. Telling your teen what she “should” be doing isn’t likely to be effective. But,behaving like a positive role model can encourage your teen to follow suit.

Here are nine specific areas where it's important to periodically consider how you're doing as a role model:

1.  Physical Health

Obesity, poor nutrition, a lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation are just a few health issues that are rampant among teens.

Role modeling good physical health can inspire your teen to take steps to take care of her body. Incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. Purchase healthy food and cook nutritious meal. And make sure to get plenty of sleep. Make a point of discussing the importance of regular check-ups and discuss the importance of maintaining your health to the best of your ability.

2. Mental Health

While a lot of families recognize the importance of caring for their physical health, there’s often a lot less discussion about caring for mental health. Take steps to promote good mental health by demonstrating that you’re managing your stress in healthy ways. Spend time with friends, engage in regular exercise, and participate in leisure activities to build resilience.

3. Electronics Use

A lot of teens struggle to set healthy limits on electronics so it’s essential for parents to be good role models.

Show your teen proper smartphone etiquette. For example, don’t respond to text messages or social media while someone is carrying on a conversation with you. Establish rules for electronics – such as no TV during dinner, and stick to those rules.

4. Self-Care

Show your teen that  you value taking care of yourself.

Whether you take time each day to meditate or you choose to get a monthly massage, make it clear that you value caring for yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

5. Relationships

Teens learn how to treat others by observing relationships. Treating your partner with love and respect is an essential component to teach your teen about romantic love. Also, pay attention to the way you treat other friends and family. Your teen will learn a lot from your interactions.

6. Finances

Your teen will learn about finances simply by watching how you make purchases and balance your budget. Whether you're deeply in debt or you're really tight with your cash, your behavior and attitude toward money will speak volumes. It's important to ensure that the messages your sending to your teen about money are healthy.

7. Communication

Pay attention to the way you communicate with friends, family members, and strangers. If you struggle to speak up for yourself in a respectful manner, or you get into frequent arguments without resolving problems, your teen won’t learn how to communicate effectively.

8. Work Ethic

Long before your teen has a job, she’ll learn about work ethic by watching you. If you're chronically late for work or you call in sick on days where you just don’t feel like showing up, your teen may get the wrong message about a job. Your work ethic around the house and in the community will also influence how your teen views work.

9. Values

Research shows most teens are confused about their family values so it’s important to pay close attention to the things you’re emphasizing. For example, are you living according to your spiritual beliefs? Are you spending the most time and energy on the things you value most in life? The way you behave speaks loudest about your value system.

Continue Reading