parents

"Forget celebrities and sports stars. This is who I want my kids' role model to be."

I have three children, but it’s my eight-year-old son in particular who is mad keen on football.

He idolises members of his football team to the point of obsession and follows them with an almost blind faith. And sometimes that really bothers me.

Because the way I see it, no sportsman or woman should ever be put on a pedestal and worshipped just because they can kick a ball well, and no celebrity should be worshipped just because they can sing, look good in clothes, or appear on reality TV.

It also bothers me because not a day goes by without a fresh new celebrity scandal. And while there are plenty of famous, positive role models out there, there are also plenty who are the very opposite.

That’s why I don’t want my kids looking up to untouchable, unrelatable sportspeople or celebrities – especially those with questionable values. I want to be the best role model in their lives: I want them to look up to me.

“He idolises members of his football team to the point of obsession and follows them with an almost blind faith. And sometimes that really bothers me.”

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by VicGovt. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

Recently I was driving my children to school in inner city Melbourne. What should take me 15 minutes on paper can often take me an hour and a half in peak-hour traffic – and let’s just say that traffic has made me very frustrated on occasion. In fact, not so long ago, I may have been known to express my frustration with some choice words and actions.

But recently I realised that in the same way I had watched my own father and his habits when driving, I was perhaps projecting the wrong kind of habits upon my own children. I didn’t want impatience while driving to be their normal.

Related: 33 ridiculous things you had no idea you had to teach your kid.

I wanted them to watch me and to admire my driving and road sense, just like I want them to watch me and admire the way I treat others, handle conflict and stress, and handle other challenges life throws my way.

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Because as parents, we are the best role models for our children when it comes to driving. Kids emulate what they see and what they know. Which means that we should strive to be cool headed and stick to the road rules when we drive.

“My daughter is six months away from getting her Learner’s License, and this terrifies me.”

My daughter is six months away from getting her Learner’s License, and this terrifies me. Not because I don’t think she will be a good driver, but because Melbourne (and probably every large city) can be an absolutely unforgiving jungle. I need for her to know her rights, her wrongs and to be aware of those around her.

I think the best thing I can do for her, as a parent, is to teach her that not everyone around her will actually be following the rules. That there will be unforgiving and rude drivers out there on the roads who don’t care for her, let alone anyone else on the road.

Related: Just asking: Do you have road rage?

Does it frighten me that only moments ago my baby daughter was in a car seat and yet within months, will be on the roads in a car as the driver? Yes it does.

The only thing that does soothe me is this: I am doing my very best to teach her the correct, calm way to drive. I will teach her to be aware of others. I will ensure she knows her road rules inside and out and then I will passionately request that she remembers that above all, she comes back home safe to me.

Since I had my epiphany, I’ve done my very best to be a model driver, especially in front of my kids. Because I want them to learn good habits from me, both behind the wheel and in life. And I want them to be looking up to and modelling their behaviour on mine – not questionable celebrities.

Who are your children’s role models?

If our kids did look up to celebrities, this is who we’d want them to be…

 

“Driving safely when your children are in the car, even from a young age, can help keep them safe now and also influence their own safe driving behaviour in the future.”