Answered by Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media parenting expert.
Q. I'm a 13-year-old girl who misses Selena Gomez when she wasn't so grown up. Who are some other alternative role models? My list so far is: Zendaya Coleman, Bella Thorne, Bridgit Mendler, and Ariana Grande.
A. Selena Gomez sure has grown up, hasn't she? The good news is that your new choices (for anyone who might not be familiar with them) are all Disney and Nickelodeon stars whose music and acting work (Shake It Up, Lemonade Mouth, Freak the Freak Out) is mostly wholesome and totally appropriate for preteens and teens. So far, so good!
But when you're seeking role models, challenge yourself to look beyond appearances. These young entertainers actually work really hard to train their voices and bodies. To get where they are, they've had to be disciplined, smart, and, of course, talented. That's what's admirable.
Also consider finding role models in your every day life -- they don't have to be celebrities. Look for people who do interesting things, spread positive messages, and treat themselves and others respectfully.
One place kids can find role models is in their interests and hobbies. If you like music, seek out artists who write their own music and play their own instruments. If you like books and reading, maybe you can find role models in the authors of books you admire. If you like science and math, you can seek out female role models who've paved a new way into a traditionally male-dominated field.
And you don't have to accept every single thing that one of your role models does. For example, you can appreciate Gomez for growing into her career -- even if she isn't someone you still want to emulate.
Finally, remember that you yourself may be a role model to other, younger girls. That's an important position to be in. It's always good to help and guide younger kids and let them benefit from your experience.
Got a question? Send me a tweet!
Who do you think are the best role models for girls? Who are the worst?
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