Last year, a poll of 2000 men found one in four considers their Dad as their role model. But what is a role model? As per Merriam-Webster a role model is “a person whose behaviour in a particular role is imitated by others”. This is one of the challenges of being a dad, and we all know that with great power comes great responsibility (Thanks Uncle Ben!).
Dads help shape their children into who they are. Having a father who is actively participating in parenting plays a huge role in the healthy development of their kids. Studies have proven that fathers have a big impact on child development and here are 5 key areas.
- Increase Intellect – increase emotional intelligence and cognitive development
- Boost Confidence – a Dad’s emotional support leads to a high self-esteem and confidence in social situations
- Someone To Look Up To – children with fathers who are involved in parenting are more likely to show positive behaviours like sociability, compassion and generosity
- Provide A Different Perspective – kids learn different things from their Mom and Dad and this helps them see various perspectives that help them with their life choices
- Feel The Love – children getting love from both parents tend to grow up emotionally stable and confident
Now that we’ve established that, how does being a role model help your children during times of crises like the pandemic we are experiencing now.
A crisis is a disruptive life event and during trying times our children look up to us for guidance more than usual. Children are very good mimics and they constantly look for people to emulate. During a crisis, they will more likely follow what they see from their parents first and foremost so it’s up to us to show them what to do. When faced with a crisis, we can employ the ABCs of Meaning from renowned author Bruce Feiler in tackling the crisis.
- A – Agency – I’m doing something
- B – Belonging – I’m connecting to people
- C – Cause – I know my purpose
Once we determine all of these, we can then repurpose them to be a good role model for our kids.
During this pandemic we have a few rules to follow and we can keep that in mind along with the ABCs of Meaning and translate it to how we think and act around our kids. I said earlier, kids are great mimics, and not the annoying mime kind but the one where whatever they see us say or do often gets ingrained in them. With that said, here’s how we can be good role models during this pandemic.
- A – Agency – What can we do to help in times of uncertainty and panic? We can start with our homes. We should be the first ones singing Happy Birthday as we wash our hands. We should be the first ones to wear protective masks when going outside. We should be the ones to eat and drink healthy in a time where health is a precious commodity. Because our kids will copy what we do just like Monkey See Monkey Do.
- B – Belonging – Social distancing does not mean cutting off communication with the outside world, what we need is actually physical distancing to avoid contamination and we actually need to be more social to be supportive of one another during times like this. We can reach out to friends and family via phone or video calls and let our kids join in the conversation so they feel included.
- C – Cause – Know your purpose and your first purpose is your family. Show by your actions that you prioritize your family’s health and if that means not taking risks by going out excessively or going in crowds then so be it. Help your children find their purpose too, this will help them stay grounded while there is panic outside. Our homes are meant to be their safe haven and the peace should start from you.
And with that said, anyone can be a father but not everyone gets to be Daddy. It takes passion, commitment and hard work to be involved in your children’s life. Pay attention to when your child needs attention, pay attention to when your child’s eyes are on you, because that’s the time they’re committing to memory what you say and do. Be the change you want to see in the world and see how you inspire your own kids to be the same.
Let me just say that during a time of crisis like this we are just like actors who fall through floorboards. Know why? We’re just going through a stage.