It is a widely known fact that the emulation of one’s actions is intrinsic to children as they experience the process of copying other people with a further intention of feeling an affinity with them. In particular, children tend to imitate the actions, behavior and habits of role models that affect children greatly. By the way, role models are people whose behavior or even appearance is usually emulated by younger people. On the one hand, emulation of role models is beneficial to children as they imitate someone’s diligent behavior, widens knowledge on particular topics, thus it will definitely contribute to child’s self-development and probably boosting their self-esteem. On the other hand, role models who show up outrageous acts of rudeness and propagate their partying lifestyle are not fine examples for children to follow as emulation of them will have a devastating effect on their psychology and attitude to life. Judging from such a controversy, the paper is aimed at defining how children are affected by role models alluding to attachment theory and Erickson’s theory on trust and mistrust.
To begin with, it is necessary to point out how such role models as actors influence children as well as why children tend to emulate them. In fact, not only children are tempered to imitate actors’ behavior since the films and TV programs with their participation have flooded the screens. Of course, actors as well as other celebrities may have a favorable impact on children providing that their lifestyle and professional career inspire children to emulate them and eventually achieve success similar to actors (Honeycutt., Alyson., Milliken., Mary Elizabeth., 2012). Specifically, the actors ,who demonstrate their willingness to support charities, make donations and advocate good publicity, are likely to inspire children to do well at school, avoid destructive behavior and keep plugging away towards their fundamental goals. What is more, actors who show theit ability to combine personal and professional life, obey the laws and honor their relationships are also fine examples for children to emulate. Finally, a positive self-image of actors contributes to boosting children’s self-esteem and promoting cultural awareness. On the whole, a positive impact of actors is apparent even if they promote a healthy lifestyle, take part in humanitarian efforts and advocate social justice since these elements are over-hyped nowadays.

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Negative Effects Of Family Role Models

Apart from a positive impact, actions and behavior of actors also tend to have a destructive effect on their personality and life choices. This is due to the fact that children emulate actors’ behavior blindly without noticing apparent bad habits and destructive behavior in public. In other words, children are obsessed with actors, and may even prioritize them before their parents. Children set an obsessive fixation on their idol and try to emulate their habits, gestures and personality traits. In fact, the core of the problem lays in the fact that actors’ inappropriate behavior, sexism, drug or alcohol abuse as well as the ideas of racism affect child’s psychology and consequently children also propagate idols’ ideas and become addicted to drugs and alcohol. In addition, actors’ particular way of dressing may influence children since it leads to a wrong body image, thus such style of dress would be considered outrageous and unacceptable for children and youngsters. As a result, the emulation of actors’ behavior and actions influences children’s lifestyle and undermines their ability to take a reasonable view of certain issues since opinions of role models prevail over their own values (Raden., Stephanie Justin Van., 2011). That is why it is crucial for parents whose child keeps a great interest in actors should take preventive measures in order not to develop an obsessive attachment to actors.

Attachment Theory – What Is It?

Still on the subject of role models, it is necessary to mention Attachment Theory expounded by John Bowlby who claims that the only role models for children should be their parents and caregivers. To put it simply, the theory presupposes that humans are in need of forming a close emotional bond with a caregiver with a view to prevent themselves from any external influence (Jeremy Holmes, 2014). That is to say, children will prioritize their parents’ role before celebrities who have made no contribution to their upbringing at all. The main thesis of attachment theory was that children should be motivated and inspired mainly by their parents who are able to meet their needs and understand their psychological state. Similarly, the theory Trust vs Mistrust developed by Erik Erickson suggests that the problem of trust is a key component in a child’s life. In particular, children are not afraid to trust the world providing that their parents provide them with a proper care and make them familiarized with moral values (Kail., Robert V., 2018). That is to say, if child’s needs are met by parents, then they will be credulous. Though, the thing is that children will give credence to those people whom they feel affinity with and who meet their expectations to the full extent. As a result, Erickson proves that a proper upbringing of children will never result in prioritizing celebrities or idolizing them due to their global popularity.

In conclusion, it is significant to underline that role models still influence children and youth since an increasing number of films and TV shows contributes to gaining more reputation, thus children are tempered to emulate their role models. The issue of influence of role models is controversial and ambivalent due to the fact that certain celebrities promote healthy lifestyle, take part in charity organizations, whereas the other promote drug abuse and destructive behavior. Still, in order to avoid children’s obsession with celebrities, parents have to help children identify positive role models but reject those whose behavior and style of life are unacceptable.

  • Holmes., Jeremy. (2014). John Bowlby and Attachment Theory. Routledge.
  • Honeycutt., Alyson., Milliken., Mary Elizabeth. (2012). Understanding Human Behavior: A Guide For Health Care Providers. Cengage Learning.
  • Kail., Robert V. (2018). Human Development: A Life-Span View. Cengage Learning.
  • Raden., Stephanie Justin Van. (2011). The Effect of Role Models on the Attitudes and Career of Children. Portland State University.