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Role Models for Children: The Power of the Same Sex Parent

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Role Models for Children: The Power of the Same Sex Parent

22 November 2018

We’ve all heard it before, daughters are Daddy’s girls and sons are Mummy’s boys. While these preferences may resonate in some settings, the fact is, that deeply engrained into our children’s behaviour and subconscious is the example set by the parent of the same sex. A lot of the time when we think about how we raise our children, we think about how we treat them – but how we treat others and how we act in front of them often has a much larger effect. In fact, an interesting study titled Bobo Doll by Bandura and Ross (1963) showed that children often micked behaviour they saw even if it wasn’t something they had experienced first-hand. This is a great example of how, as parents regularly going to the gym, playing sport with team mates and other daily things such as displaying manners to strangers can set an example for our children and set them up with the inspiration to continue these routines and behaviours. Language was found to be equally important in this study, and it’s known that using words that empower our children and make them feel in control of their own actions and choices when speaking to them has a hugely positive impact on them. For example, instead of saying “you have to do this”, perhaps try “you could do this”, or “would you please be able to do this”.

Children are like little sponges, and they absorb everything they see and hear in one way or another, and all of this information, behaviour (and of course some DNA) begins to form this great big personality with habits and traits. So while some characteristics are inherited, the environment that we as parents create is equally important to our children’s development.

As they progress into puberty, children start to relate themselves more to the same sex parent, where previously there may not have been a preference. Of course, this is not to say that a parent of the opposite sex is now redundant, but as children start to wonder about themselves and how ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ act, they look towards their own gender for answers. As parents, everything from the way we treat each other to the way that we communicate with our children sets a standard. Even as our children get older, our emphasis on how others will react to their behaviour becomes an influence on how they act.

Then there are, of course, single parents who do an amazing job at playing both roles and teaching their children lifelong skills and behaviour patterns regardless of gender but like Mike who wrote a piece for Focus on the Family, it’s actually totally normal to sometimes feel a little bit lost when it comes to tackling gender specific issues in your children. This is when other influential characters being to play a big role in your children’s lives, such as the same-sex coach of your child’s sports program when they display good sportsmanship, uncles and aunties, as well as teachers.

Here at Sport Star Academy we think it’s particularly important to pay attention to what we’re putting out when it comes to our little sponges, which is why we put so much into our learn, lead and grow core values. With our vision to empower, mentor and develop good human beings, we’re dedicated to ensuring our language and behaviour is something we’d be proud of our kids and students to pick up. We truly believe that being a part of a productive, supportive team is a vital stepping stone in child development and helps keep them in a positive environment outside of their fantastic home life. We make sure our teams work on lifelong skills like team work, honesty and integrity while understanding what makes our little people tick to ensure we’re being the best possible role models for our students.

Kelly Nikolakopoulos, Sport Star Academy