Teenagers mirror their parent's positive actions.

How to Be a Positive Role Model for Teens

by Jaimie Zinski

Teenagers are bombarded with images of negative attitudes and behaviors on a daily basis. From the urge to experiment with cigarettes to fighting parents and negative teachers, the effects on a teenager's attitude are profound. A study of teens ages 12 to 17 conducted by Antronette K. Yancey of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services found that positive, strong adults made a long lasting and profound impact on teenagers through mentoring.

1 Exhibit passion for your work and hobbies. Share your love of film, golf or even bowling. Whatever the case, according to developmental psychologist Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell, displaying passion and enthusiasm sets a positive example, and might inspire teens to find a hobby they love.

2 Display integrity and honesty. Make good choices, remain honest and avoid boasting. Remember your teen is watching every choice you make. Instead of taking the easy way out of a situation, show teens that sometimes the right choice is the difficult one. For example, if you're fighting with a family member, show integrity by admitting you were wrong and looking for ways to work through your problems instead of lying about being busy if the individual wants to talk.

3 Volunteer for a charity. Dr. Price-Mitchell says that teenagers respond to and admire parents or citizens that support and give back to their community. Encourage your teen to volunteer through a local church organization, or give back to your community by collecting and donating canned goods to a food bank.

4 Finish every task and step up and face your obligations. When you begin a task, no matter how minor, follow through. For example, if you're committed to raising funds for the school's library, give your all and raise as much money as you can, even if the task interferes with your everyday life.

5 Admit your faults and work through your mistakes with your teens. No one lives an ideal life, and according to child development specialist Dr. Robyn Silverman, admitting that you're not perfect and make mistakes is a universal issue. In addition, it's important to emphasize the need for adults and teens to make amends for their wrongdoings. If you're wrong, apologize to your teen to show him that it's all right to make mistakes.

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