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Guest Post: The Importance of Being Involved in a Child’s Life

It takes more than simply being present in order to be a positive role model. Although the child isn’t biologically yours, you could still play an important role in the child’s development. Whether you’re an aunt, uncle or even a mentor to a teen, there are many ways you can alter a child’s perception of the world. You can accomplish this with guiding attitudes depending on the amount of quality time you provide. Why should you put a great deal of effort to involve yourself in the life of a child?

1. Social Interaction – How you interact with society can play heavily on how a child will do the same. It is your actions and mannerisms that children assimilate as a method of learning. From their point of view, that is how you are to act in public. As a closely related family member or mentor, you can have a strong influence in how these perceptions are processed in the child’s mind.

2. Guidance – As mentioned above, the primary method for learning how the world works is through you as a guide. Although the natural parent’s influence can play a deciding factor, your indirect relationship can show the child another facet of how life really works. While he or she will eventually begin to make their own decisions, it will be your guidance that plays a part of the role in how those decisions are processed in the mind.

3. Being Accepted – For most children, being accepted by family and friends is very important. When it comes to closely related adults, this need may be amplified. The child needs to know that you care and your actions will ultimately prove to him or her that you do. This could be especially important if the child doesn’t get that kind of support from home. Without a parental or mentor figure in their lives, many children rely on themselves for the answers to situations they’ve never experienced before. You may not be able to force the parents to be more accepting, but you can provide that security for the child by being there when they need you.

4. Reliance – Although you may want to teach children about the benefits of self-reliance, they still need that safety net that you’ll always be there to help. Unfortunately, many parents and role models wind up doing more than help which could lead to a co-dependent behavior. However, you don’t have to distance yourself from a problem in order to teach reliance. Allow the child to make his or her own mistakes, but be there regardless if the decision was successful or a failure.

5. Genetic Aspect – The affect you have on the child’s life now will reflect how the child impact’s his or her own children in the future. This learned behavior could continue for generations to come. While each individual may add his or her own adaptations, the underlying behaviors may still be seen within the great grandchildren.

Being involved is not the same as spoiling the child. It doesn’t take much to take a few moments out of your day to show interest in what a child is currently doing. You could greatly impact the future of niece, nephew or student with a few kind words or positive interaction.

Ken Myers is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives. Find out more about expert childcare by checking out @go_nannies on Twitter.


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