Reference models for children and adolescents: who are your influencers?
The family is the first educational environment in which the child is immersed. Within it the little ones receive their first life lessons and learn different values that begin to form their personality. But this is not the only source of education to which children are exposed, from school to their liking for an athlete also influence this development.
For this reason, it is important to know who the references of children to determine how they influence development. As pointed out Rudolph Schaffer In his book Social Development, the influences on the child have a circular character. That is, all are connected and the child lives each experience according to their values and in turn, these experiences have their echo in the rest.
The importance of the environment: this is how they select their 'influencers'
To understand the influence of references In children, we must explain how the environment affects the development of children. Although the genetic component is very important in the construction of the personality, it can not be denied that the environment also has in this process. Every individual changes throughout their life and these changes are largely due to what surrounds them.
Within this environment the figure of the referent plays a very important role as it becomes channeler of values. On the one hand, we must emphasize the parents, who become the first person that influences the construction of the personality. Every progenitor is a mirror where the child looks and takes note of behaviors to adapt them.
Second, we must talk about the teachers. Teachers become the authority figure within the school and therefore in which many minors they look at their first years of teaching. Finally we must talk about other references in the minor that also influence their development, in this case it is public figures such as footballers, singers and other stars.
This influences the development of children's personality
An example of the influence of these references on the development of children is the work done by the Royal Society of New Zealand where it is clear how celebrities are echoed in some behaviors of young people. An example is the appearance of attitudes such as alcohol consumption in adolescents, something that is due to the presence of stars in television ads.
In this way, it is clear what is the influence of the referents in the construction of the personality of the youngest. If a boy go to the star that continues announcing a liquor, will understand that to be the same as she should drink it. Another example is the case of the so-called "enfants terrible", or celebrities who show an unacceptable behavior in their appearances on television.
The conclusion is that knowing who are the external referents of the children will help to understand why they behave in a certain way. In this sense, we must remember the circular influence referred to earlier. While the values that children learn from these celebrities have their echo in the behavior of these, those who teach the parents also.
Therefore, it is very important to take care of the education offered at home. Perhaps a child may feel the curiosity to taste the alcoholic beverage that he has seen the famous follower drink, or to dress like the singer who follows. But if his parents have taught the dangers of this type of substance or the importance of a good dress, the child will be able to reason and take into account possible risks.
On the other hand, parents should also encourage their children to build their own personalities and not to imitate everything that these celebrities do. From very young you have to ask them questions to know their motivations and interests to empower them and not let them take over those of other people.