Learning and belonging are the two main reasons why young people seek out role models. Despite what you might think, every child actually has access to lots of choices for role models, thanks in part to the many different media options they have at their fingertips; whether or not the role model is a positive one is the real question. Online students are more likely to find their role models at home or online, so the vastness of the internet might cause you to wonder who your child is learning from and where they’re finding a sense of belonging. From friends to family members or celebrities, role models are abundant in our mediated world, so how do you know if you’re demonstrating the right qualities to be a good role model for the online student in your life? Here are some of the most important lessons you can teach your young person in order to help them grow as a human being and have a healthy sense of belonging.
A good role model will both talk about and show their young person how to treat others with respect. They’ll model how to speak with others in a nonjudgmental fashion to encourage healthy conversations. When you’re talking to your teen, especially about difficult topics or points of disagreement, try to find out what their reasoning is in the situation. Find out what drove them to make certain decisions and guide them through dissecting their choices. Modeling this behavior will help them independently analyze their choices in the future, and it’s a great way to avoid judging questionable decisions while still leading them to realize what they could do differently next time. You show them how important they are to you, creating a sense of security and belonging, when you listen to them without judgment and avoid negativity as they work through their problems.
How to Problem Solve
When a young person is facing a problem, they need a healthy role model to learn how to work through them. If they’ve made a mistake, they’re going to need someone in their life who they’ve seen make mistakes and grow from them. Adults go through stretches where navigating problems is an everyday occurrence, so learning how to handle problem solving and how to navigate mistakes under pressure is valuable for any young person.
A good role model will stay calm under pressure, taking the time to breathe and calm their body so that their mind can work. Showing your teen how to do this will help them avoid plenty of unnecessary stress and panic. Once your body is calm so that your mind can work, it’s time to demonstrate how to break a problem down into manageable smaller problems that don’t seem insurmountable and find solutions to each. A calm body and mind will also help you analyze any mistakes you’ve made so that you can learn from them. It’s a guarantee that modeling this for your student will help them in the long-term.
How to Be Resilient
Whether work or play, today’s world requires that your teen knows how to stick with difficult tasks. If they quit every time things get hard, they’ll never learn or grow. No one wants to teach their teen that “when the going gets tough,” we just give up. Equally so, we don’t want to teach them that when times get tough, we’ll jump in to rescue them.
To be a good role model for the young person in your life, show them that it’s okay to take a break from difficult tasks and look at the problem from a different angle. We’ve mentioned before that if your mind and body are actively anxious, you’re not going to be terribly productive, so when you’re facing something challenging, you might need to walk away for a moment before coming back to it and tackling that challenge in a new light. Even taking a few deep breaths mid-challenge can help you see difficult tasks through to the end. This skill is valuable for teaching your teen how to finish facing their responsibilities so that they don’t leave people in the lurch, even if the responsibility is unpleasant or frustrating.
Teens can be pretty hard on themselves, and even though it causes some to be very productive, it’s not the best way to treat yourself long-term. Demonstrating to a teen how to prioritize self-care is a life-long skill that they will need in order to be productive adults with empathy and compassion for others. You can work on this with your teen by taking walks with them, meditating or participating in yoga, or by talking about what you do to prioritize your mental health.
Self-care isn’t just about getting your nails done or working out. It’s about making sure that your mind is in the best possible place for you to tackle whatever life throws at you. A healthy mental state allows you to regulate emotions much more effectively, a skill you certainly want to model and teach to your young person. By making sure you’re in a positive mental and spiritual mindset, you show your teen that it’s okay to take care of our minds as well as our bodies.
About Northgate Academy
If you’re not already a student at Northgate Academy but are interested in using our faith-based online high school program as an accredited choice for your Christian student or as a resource for homeschool coursework, you can check out our programs online. Every full time student at NGA is assigned an Academic Success Coach, can email their instructors with questions, reach out to staff through online chat and text, and has access to one-on-one tutoring through Train The Brain.
Still have questions? Feel free to send us a text at 763-412-4701 or call us at 800-339-7132. Our academic support team will be happy to answer your questions or help guide you to the best program for you or your child.