Role models are useful for us to figure out what traits we have that we like about ourselves, as well as traits that we don’t like as much and might want to change.

Being able to identify traits that we like and dislike, both in ourselves and in others, can help us to create goals that are important to us to work towards – like becoming more reliable or honest and less selfish or angry.

Having a role model helps to show us what we could be like if we developed more positive traits and tried to have fewer poor traits.

It’s important to remember that everyone has both good and poor traits, it doesn’t make us bad people, it just means that we have room to grow and become better versions of ourselves.

Some traits that people have can be changed and developed, but it’s important to remember that there are some traits that are part of us, and while we can try to make changes, there might always be parts of us that are that way and that’s okay.

Below is a table to help you look at the kinds of traits of both good and poor role models, to help guide you in deciding who may or may not be a good role model. You can also use this table to help you recognise traits you currently have, and those that you might like to develop.

Good Traits Poor Traits
Reliable Cruel
Kind Selfish
Empathetic Unreliable
Passionate Apathetic (lazy or uncaring)
Acts in the best interests of others Self-serving
Honest Dishonest
Respectful Poor behavioural control
Has time for others Short-tempered
Accessible Makes others uncomfortable
Ethical Angry
Positive Rude
Humble Poor volume control (loud and yelling)

Try to identify what good traits you have, and look at what poor traits might fit you.

Try to do this with the people around you, and the people that you already admire.

Try to see if there are any bad traits that you dislike, can someone you admire have those poorer traits and still be a role model for you?

It’s important to be aware of who you admire, it’s easy to admire people without really thinking about if they’re a good role model for us, and it can be easy to start to copy them. If they’re behaving poorly and that can lead to negative outcomes.

It’s important to know how to find role models, without them we can’t necessarily build an idea of what we’d like to be like.

Role models can be found in school, at work, in support services, our homes and our communities. These are all great places to find role models that we can directly learn from.

We might be able to sit down with that person and ask them questions about how they became so kind to others and if they have advice for you. It’s important to remember that although we might be able to sit down with them sometimes, people aren’t always as available to us as we might think, they might have a lot of people also looking to them for guidance or be really busy, so try to respect their boundaries.

Do at home exercise:

Think about someone you admire deeply and want to be more like.

Write down all the ‘good’ things about them – the things that you admire. Then write down all the bad things (no-one is perfect so everyone will have less favourable habits.

Pick one of their good habits that you admire and then think about how you are going to do it yourself.

Watch a video about role models

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