By Kristen Houghton
Positive Role Models for Our Daughters
If you’ve listened to any news over the last few months, it is next to impossible not to have heard stories about the antics of pop celebrity princesses, Britney and Lindsay. These are young women who seemed to have had bright futures ahead of them only to lose it all through the horrors of drugs, drinking, and self-imposed embarrassing situations.
You can’t help but wonder about the lack of good solid role models in the lives of pre-teen girls. Who is there for the ‘tween crowd to emulate? Certainly celebrities such as Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are not the ones we want our daughters to copy. Yet many young girls wanted to be just like them.
Girls in the age group spanning nine to thirteen are searching for the self they will become. Role models help them establish which values and which lifestyle they will eventually have as part of their own identity. These are crucial years and someone they admire has a tremendous amount of influence on them. That they don’t always admire someone of whom their parents approve can be a problem.
The media plays an important part in how pre-teen girls think they should be. Besides showing the latest in clothing, hairstyles, and “kid-speak,” the media offers tantalizing glimpses into private lives and inappropriate behavior. The celebrity our daughters like may seem to not only have it all but to get away with “being bad.” Even legal punishment for breaking the law becomes just another event in an already interesting and exciting lifestyle. Our daughters see the anti-hero as someone they admire.
The rule-breaker celebrity in society has always been of interest to us. They seem to unstoppable, irreverent, and above the tedium of a boring life. The word celebrity itself means someone of fame and renown. Somehow society has always celebrated and admired the rebellious well-known person for their “above-the-rules” attitude. Your daughters are no different.
Even though they and their friends may look upon these celebrities as someone they want to be like, there are things we can say as parents to diminish this admiration.
Talk casually with your daughter about which celebrities they like.
Ask them if they would actually want to be like this person and then ask why.
Offer your own opinion about the celebrity and any escapade that is newsworthy.
Discuss what the words “role model” mean. Ask your daughter if she admires any woman in her everyday life, in literature, or in movies. Why does she admire them?
Let your daughter understand that celebrities, despite having what appears to be a glamorous life, do not always live in a glamorous style. The stress of fame is high.
Talk about your own personal heroes and find positive role models together.
And, remember, it is okay to admire someone for a talent they possess, such as acting, singing, or sports, but still find their personal life unacceptable. As impressionable as pre-teens are, common sense does prevail.
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