Parenting is a lifelong journey filled with challenges, joys, and the constant evolution of your child. While there is no one-size-fits-all manual for raising children, the practice of model parenting has emerged as a powerful approach that can have long-term effects on both parents and their teens/young adults. Model parenting is not about being perfect, but about embodying qualities and behaviours that serve as a positive influence and nurturing a strong, lasting bond with your child.
In this article, we’ll delve into the concept of model parenting and its positive impact on parent-child relationships during the pivotal teenage and young adult stages. Drawing inspiration from the valuable lessons shown to me by my own parents, through their experiences of model parenting.
What Is Model Parenting?
Model parenting is a parenting approach based on setting a positive example for your children. It involves embodying the values, behaviours, and qualities you hope to instil in your child. This approach goes beyond mere words; it’s about living the values and principles you want your child to adopt.
“Modeling is not teaching. It is showing, sharing, connecting, and living the experience you’d like to support your child to learn. In the case of the toddler learning to walk, you modeled what walking looked like by being your authentic walking self. By naturally doing what you normally do, you supported them on their journey into becoming a walker.” ~ Lainie Liberti – Seen, Heard & Understood
Key Practices of Model Parenting
Open Communication: Model parents prioritize open and honest communication with their children. They actively listen to their teens’ concerns, opinions, and feelings, creating an atmosphere where teenagers feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgment.
Setting Boundaries: Clear and consistent boundaries are crucial for teenagers and young adults. Model parents set appropriate boundaries while explaining the reasons behind them, helping teens understand the importance of rules and limits. If you were to set a seemingly unnecessary rule without explaining your reasonings behind setting it, you’re more likely to encounter “rebellion” against said rule. If your teen doesn’t understand why you’re placing certain rules on them, or they begin to feel constricted by these rules, chances are, that is when tensions begin to boil.
Emotional Regulation: Model parents manage their emotions effectively. This does not mean that they don’t show any emotion, or only ever remain positive. They also demonstrate healthy ways of coping with stress, anger, and frustration, teaching their children how to handle their emotions constructively.
Respect and Empathy: Treating your teens with respect and empathy, recognizing their individuality and autonomy, will foster a sense of self-worth and self-esteem by showing understanding and compassion.
Responsibility and Accountability: Encouraging responsibility and accountability in your teens can teach the importance of taking ownership of one’s actions and learning from mistakes rather than blaming others, which is quite often the first thing that jumps to mind when you’re caught in an uncomfortable situation, regardless of age.
Lifelong Learning: Model parents embody a love for learning. They encourage curiosity, intellectual growth, and a willingness to adapt to new information and ideas, demonstrating the value of continuous self-improvement. They may choose to watch their children become self-directed learners, something that is hugely beneficial when it comes to the growth of adolescents’ brains.
Long-Term Effects of Model Parenting
Stronger Bonds: As teens grow into young adults, the bond you share with them becomes a crucial support system. Establishing a foundation of trust and mutual respect makes it easier to share their thoughts, challenges, and successes with their parents, throughout the highs and lows they are now facing leading into adulthood.
Higher Self-Esteem: Teens raised by model parents often have higher self-esteem and a stronger sense of self-worth. They feel valued and understood, which helps them navigate the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood with confidence.
Healthy Relationships: Model parenting provides a template for healthy relationships. Teens who witness respectful and empathetic interactions at home are more likely to seek out similar relationships in their own lives.
Positive Decision-Making: Model parents equip their teens with critical thinking skills and the ability to make informed decisions. As a result, young adults are more likely to make responsible choices in areas such as education, career, and relationships.
Emotional Resilience: By learning to manage their emotions through their parents’ example, teens raised with model parenting tend to be emotionally resilient. They can cope with stress and adversity more effectively.
“Even if your teen is pulling away, the path to connection is through your willingness to be vulnerable and share with your teen. Facilitation is a two person dance, and sometimes as the adult, we need to take a step back re-establish the connection, do some relationship repair work, and show up authentic and vulnerable without expectation or coercion.” ~ Lainie Liberti – Seen, Heard & Understood
Model parenting is a powerful approach that can have lasting effects on the parent-child relationship, especially during the crucial teenage and young adult years. By embodying values, behaviours, and qualities that serve as a positive influence, parents can nurture strong bonds with their children.
These bonds become a source of support, guidance, and love as teens transition into adulthood, empowering them to face life’s challenges with confidence and resilience. In the end, model parenting is not about being perfect, but about being the best version of yourself for your child’s sake, something I’ll forever be grateful that my parents have prioritised throughout my life.