Becoming the Model Parent

Dear Mr. Dad: People are constantly talking about how parents should be good role models for their kids, and that makes good sense to me. But everywhere I look, I see parents behaving in horrible ways. Maybe I’m confused about what “good role model” really means. What are good role models supposed to do?

A: We all know that our kids are watching our every move (even when they’re ignoring us). And most of us have banished the phrase “do as I say, not as I do” from our vocabulary. So there’s no question that what we do is important and that our behavior can have a big influence on how our children will turn out as adults. But for me, setting a good example is much more about the being than the doing.

If you want your child to be an ethical person, treat others (and themselves) with respect, and make the right choices even if they’re not the easy ones, you’ll have to do more than demonstrate behavior. You’ll have to talk about the issues and point out examples of good—and bad—behavior around you, and in movies, TV shows, and books. And you’ll need to discuss with your child why people make the choices they do and what your child would have done instead. The goal is to lead your child to a point where he or she will make good choices even when you’re not there.

That said, being a role model isn’t all in your head, and how you behave is still important. Here are a few ideas:
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Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance, Part II

zero tolerance bullying policies do more harm than good

zero tolerance bullying policies do more harm than goodA few months ago, I wrote a column entitled “Why We Need Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance,” which talked about how the current practice of suspending or expelling chlidren from school may be doing more harm than good. In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agrees, adding that removing a child from school should be a rare last resort and not a routine punishment for bullying, drug use or other infractions.

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Making Changes + Achieve the Extraordinary + Protect against Bullies

[amazon asin=B00AHF87QM&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Jeremy Dean, author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits
Topic:
Why we do things why we don’t, and how to make any change stick
Issues: Where do bad habits come from? Why it can take weeks or months to create and implement new behaviors and weed out old ones; avoid frustration and learn to navigate habit-forming pitfalls and successfully build new, long-lasting practices.

[amazon asin=0385520557&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Bill Strickland, author of Make the Impossible Possible
Topic:
One man’s crusade to inspire others to dream bigger and achieve the extraordinary.
Issues: A successful life is not something you simply pursue—it’s something that you create; how to stop going through the motions of living and how to savor each and every day; how the way we treat people and ourselves influences the kind of life we have.

[amazon asin=0470407018&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Allan Beane, author of Protect Your Child from Bullying
Topic:
Advice to help recognize, prevent, and stop bullying before your child gets hurt.
Issues: Tell-tale signs that your child is being victimized; understanding the characteristics that make a child an easy target; how to give your child a solid foundation for dealing with bullying situations; why not to teach a child to physically retaliate against a bully.

New Approaches to Bullying

[amazon asin=0062105078&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest: Carrie Goldman, author of Bullied.
Topic: What every parent, teacher, and kid needs to know about ending the cycle of fear.
Issues: Eye-opening stats on the prevalence of bullying; the harmful effects of bullying on the brain; creating a home environment that produces neither bullies nor victims; why typical school anti-bullying/zero tolerance policies do more harm than good.

Bullies and the Cycle of Fear + Child Safety + The Benefits of Risk and Danger

[amazon asin=0062105078&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest: Carrie Goldman, author of Bullied.
Topic: What every parent, teacher, and kid needs to know about ending the cycle of fear.
Issues: Eye-opening stats on the prevalence of bullying; the harmful effects of bullying on the brain; creating a home environment that produces neither bullies nor victims; why typical school anti-bullying/zero tolerance policies do more harm than good.


[amazon asin=0964004224&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Paula Statman, author of Raising Careful, Confident Kids in a Crazy World.Topic: Teaching kids to be safe and strong.
Issues: Striking a healthy balance between safety and panic; turning nice kids into safe kids; why scare tactics don’t work; what parents and kids need to know about sex offenders; much more.


[amazon asin=077108708X&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: Michael Ungar, author of Too Safe for Their Own Good.
Topic: How risk and responsibility help teens thrive.
Issues: Adolescents are safer now than at any time in history—why are we overly protecting them? How bubble-wrapping kids stunts their healthy growth and puts them at harm; the benefits of experiencing manageable amounts of danger.

Teaching Values + The Homeschooling Adventure + Bullies and Asperger’s + Bullyproof Your Child

[amazon asin=B005GNKI30&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Mary O’Dohohue, author of When You Say ‘Thank You,’ Mean It.
Topic: 12 lessons for instilling lifelong values in your children.
Issues: A 12-month program (that’s easy to implement and actually works) for teaching values: gratitude, self-respect, respect for others, integrity, compassion, forgiveness, a sense of joy, commitment, lifelong learning, inner strength, spirituality, and a sense of purpose.


[amazon asin=0399537600&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Quinn Cummings, author of The Year of Learning Dangerously.
Topic: Adventures in homeschooling.
Issues: Making the decision to enter the unfamiliar water of homeschooling; the highlights and pitfalls of taking your children’s education into your own hands; what do to—and what not to do along the way.


[amazon asin=1843108461&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: Nick Dubin, author of Asperger’s Syndrome and Bullying.
Topic: Strategies and solutions for kids with Asperger’s and their parents.
Issues: Almost all children with Asperger’s are victimized by bullies between the ages of 11 and 19; the traits that make children with Asperger’s particularly susceptible to bullying; teaching children how to tell the difference between bullying and true friendship.


[amazon asin=0399533184&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 4: Joel Haber, author of Bullyproof Your Child for Life.
Topic: Protecting children from teasing, taunting, and bullying for good.
Issues: How our culture glorifies bullies and holds abusive people (like Simon Cowell on American Idol) up as role models; specific questions, comebacks, and action steps to help any child build resilience and confidence, and thrive in school, camp, sports, and beyond.