Every one has a ‘hero’; someone that one looks up to to. This ‘hero’ changes
with age. So when we are small, most of us look up to our dads as our hero,
then our mom becomes our hero, then a teacher, then a film star, a sports star,
a politician etc.
It is important to have a ‘hero’ in our life as that ‘hero’ is our role model,
someone that we look up to, emulate, imitate and try to live up to.
Children especially need ‘heroes’. And your child’s personality, his/her likes
and dislikes and his/her behaviour will all be shaped and influenced by who
this ‘hero’ is.
Young children these days usually look at cartoon characters as their heroes,
like the Ninja Turtles, or the Power Puff Girls or the latest ‘hero’ that every
mother hates, Shin Chen from television. Sometimes this choice of ‘heroes’
teaches the child good things like the good work that Superman, Spiderman
etc do. But some of them end up teaching the child violence, bad language,
bad behaviour, rude attitudes etc, like the WWF characters. And now with the
latest boxing show on one of our television channels there is serious danger
that children will select these sportspersons as their ‘heroes’; and fights in
school etc will be on the rise.
How can parents influence the choice of ‘heroes’ in their child’s life? Very
simple, follow the five fun steps given below and you will be able to give your
child good heroes to look up to for life:
- Talk (brag!) about your heroes: Parents must share with children who
their hero is and share about their attributes. Talk about how you like the
bravery of Shivaji and Rani of Jhansi, the commitment to truth of
Mahatma Gandhi, the intelligence of Birbal and Chanakya, and the
patriotism of Lokmanya Tilak. This will make your children aware of such
‘heroes’ and will draw their attention into looking for the same attributes
in their ‘heroes’. And what about our defence personnel? They are the
best ‘heroes’. They are brave, fearless, and dashing too! Let’s draw our
children’s attention to all these unusual heroes that they can emulate,
respect, imitate and imbibe from.
- Have a hero of the month: Ask your child to have a hero of the month
and you should also have one of yours and then each one to try and
talk, collect pictures, facts about their hero.
- I have the power of 3: Give your child a challenge to select 3 ‘heroes’
every week for himself/herself. These heroes should be within the
specifications given to the child by you, so you can say select 3 heroes
of which one should be a female, one should be from the past and one
should be a good cartoon, etc.
- Muttering for change!: Sounds ridiculous, right? But it works. when
your child is crazy about a negative ‘hero’ and you want him to change,
instead of constantly nagging him to change (which will have the
complete opposite effect) mutter every time you find your child looking at
or doing activities connected to that hero. Mutter as if you are talking to
yourself, but loud enough for the child to hear. Try it, it works!
- Discuss-Debate And Decide: Discuss with your child why you do not
like his/her ‘hero’. Debate and let your child put his/her points across.
Teach your child to weigh pros and cons and then take a decision jointly
about that ‘hero’.
So be consciously aware of who your child’s role model or ‘hero’ is at every
stage of his/her life. Remember the ‘hero’ will influence every aspect of the
child, so if you want to change your child’s behaviour then change his/her
(Hero as a word has been used in the above article to mean someone great,
powerful and impressive. It shouldn’t be taken to mean that we only want male
role models. Hero is the above sense can be both male and female.)
Dr. Swati Popat Vats
Parenting Mentor and Coach