Teenagers are forced with life-changing decisions each and every day. Pressures to smoke, drink alcohol, do drugs, and have sex are coming at them left and right during these formative years and having positive adult role models in their lives will help your teen make the right decisions and stay on the right path.

Teens might not realize it, but their behavior and the decisions they make can have consequences that last their entire life. At that age, teens don’t have a total understanding about how their actions today can affect their later years. This is where having a loving, guiding, nurturing adult comes into play. Conversations adults have with teens can motivate them to do the right thing when faced with these decisions and give them the tools they need to get themselves out of sticky situations. Adult role models also lead by example so lead the best life possible and the teens around you will notice.

There are many ways adults can be positive role models in the lives of teenagers. We’re going to give you some ways you can be a positive presence and help encourage those around you starting today!

Modeling Positive Behavior

As an adult, you can have a MAJOR impact on the lives of those around you, and that can be a positive impact or a negative one – it’s up to you and the behavior that you model. When you set a positive example and lead a life of integrity, honesty, and self-worth, are diligent, hard-working, honest, and are kind toward others, those around you (including teens) will learn from your example. If you help hold open the door for an elderly person or a mom who is struggling to push her stroller into a store, this models to others around you the polite, caring, and thoughtful thing to do. If you notice someone struggling and don’t hold the door because you are in a hurry and only worried about yourself, that teaches those around you a lot too. Do the right thing and lead by example. Others are watching your actions more than you might realize.

 Quality TimeModeling positive Behavior

Show the teens around you that you care and are interested in them by spending good, quality time with them. Studies have shown that spending time with your teen can help boost their self-esteem and give them a greater feeling of self-worth. It’s a great time to bring up their strengths and encourage them to put them to good use. For example, if you notice that your teen likes shooting hoops in the driveway and is pretty good at it, this would be a great time to tell them that you noticed their passion and excellence in basketball and encourage them to try out for the local basketball team. Does your teen have a passion for helping others? Spend some quality time together helping the community by volunteering at a local soup kitchen or shelter. Show your teen that you are really focused on them by actively listening. This let’s your teen feel more connected, shows that you care about what they are talking about, and reinforces social skills.

The Benefits Are Abundant

The more positive adult role models a teen has in their life, the better. Research has proven that those with three or more positive role models directly relates to how likely they are to succeed, resist using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, and those teens typically have a higher rate of graduation. It is thought that teens with multiple good role models are equipped with the skills to effectively refuse what is being offered to them and Non-Parental Role Modelsstand up for what they think is right. These skills can help get teens out of tricky situations. Teens with positive role models have also decided to pursue more challenging careers. This is likely due to the fact that they feel they have the support backing their decision.

 Non-Parental Role Models

Role models come in many forms; they don’t have to be limited to the teen’s parents. Often times, non-parental role models can “get through” to teens when their parents can’t. While parents are still the main role models in their children’s lives, it’s important to welcome other supportive, positive adult role models into the fold as well. There are many great options out there but make sure the role models you welcome into your teens lives are positive, encouraging, and lead by good example. Older siblings, teachers, coaches, older relatives, pastors, and trusted neighbors are all examples of people who could be excellent role models for your teen. Everyone brings different perspectives, skills, and outlooks to the table so appreciate them and the influence they have. You never know who might light a fire in your child and encourage them to lead their best life!

Adults have the important task to inspire, motivate, and encourage teens and those around them to persevere and strive to reach their goals. These role models also encourage teens to lead a positive, contributing life. It’s not always an easy task, but the rewards are worth it! How do you act as a positive role model for your teen? Leave a comment below and head over to our Facebook page to share your thoughts with other parents and role models in the My Virtual Academy community. We’d love to hear from you!