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.
Integrity happens when we have good values and our actions match these values. Broken down, integrity consists of a few key components:
As integrity month starts, have a family meeting and discuss these five (5) big ideas. How are you doing as a family in promoting these fundamentals? Take turns sharing one way you think you are doing one of these things well and one way you could improve in any one of these areas.
Thank you so much for being a part of the Umbrella Project and helping us improve wellbeing for everyone!
Each month, we focus on one piece of what makes a powerful umbrella of well-being skills. In April, we spent time on what intrinsically motivates our children and this month we are focusing our attention on Integrity. Integrity is the skill that helps our children match their actions to the positive values they hold.
What will Integrity do for my child?
Learning to match our actions with our words can be difficult for children and adults alike. It requires many small decisions every day that help us live with honestly, respect and responsibility. For example, lying to get out of trouble is one situation that comes up regularly when we think about these day to day choices that children make.
What is Integrity?
Integrity is when we have a set of positive values and our actions in life match those values. If you look up integrity in the dictionary, it also means ‘wholeness’. When we say one thing and do another, it can make us feel like we always have something to cover up or hide.
Integrity allows us to feel whole and take responsibility for our actions. Integrity also increases the release of oxytocin in our brain which is our bonding hormone and it makes us more trustworthy to others. Integrity is the number one quality people look for in a leader and will help our children feel proud of who they are.