Parents are Role Models for Change

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The human mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” When young people learn about the Hierarchy of Social Development and the various levels, they become more aware of social responsibilities and their relationships with others.

Of course, knowing the hierarchy is one thing. Using it daily is another. Evaluating one’s own behavior can be so challenging and threatening that it is often avoided. So if you want children to effectively use the hierarchy, you can influence them to do so by starting with yourself. Reflecting on the different levels involves engaging in self-evaluation—the type of activity that prompts motivation to change in a non-threatening way, which is a major reason for its effectiveness.

As parents, we too can reflect on the hierarchy. For instance, asking, “In this situation, what level am I modeling for my children?” can prompt a valuable change. Also, taking the initiative by admitting a mistake (to yourself and to your child) can be a powerful agent for positive change. Your children will take notice.