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Good role models are known to have positive impacts on our children’s development, but not all role models are positive and even the positive ones sometimes make poor choices. They are humans too and incapable of perfection just like the rest of us. In this age of information, we get to see a lot of the good and bad choices people make and it’s important that our children are able to identify which choices they shouldn’t emulate.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends parents talk regularly to their children about their role models. Talking to your children about their role models and the qualities they possess will help you have great conversations about integrity and help you prevent your child from making the same poor choices their role models have made.

Start by talking to your children about the people they admire and why.

When those role models show high integrity, honesty, selflessness and acceptance of others, share in their admiration of that person. These positive choices are not always easy to make and the more your children see people they admire acting with integrity, the more they are likely to value this skill in themselves.

When those role models make poor choices talk to your children about that too. What do they think about that choice? Remind them that we don’t have to agree with everything someone else does because they are an important public figure, celebrity or someone we look up to. Have an open discussion with your child about why people may make poor choices and help them learn to differentiate positive and harmful behaviour in the people they admire.