“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
– Robert Fulghum
Our children are the biggest responsibilities of our lives. They are the future. We parents, usually forget the enormity of our job. We sometimes live our lives as if our children aren’t affected by the way we act or speak, or eat, or behave.
“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
– Umberto Eco
It’s easy to forget that our children pick up even the littlest things that we do. Parenthood is a 24/7 modelling job. Not the ANTM kind of modelling, but modelling the right character, attitude and behaviors.
Parents, here are 5 ugly habits (big and small) that we have to stop doing:
#1 Not Keeping An Active Lifestyle
What do kids seem to have an unlimited supply of? Ok, curiosity is a good answer. But I was leaning towards energy. Kids seem to have an unlimited supply of energy, don’t they? Parents, let’s not put this energy to waste. Teach them to have an active lifestyle by modelling it. Exercise with them in the morning. I’m sure they’ll enjoy running around the neighborhood with you. It’s exercise and quality time at the same time! Get into a sport with them – badminton, tennis, basketball, volleyball, whatever. I’m sure that when they grow up, they won’t be lazy couch potatoes.
#2 Eating Too Much Sweets
I’m sure that the first thing that probably came to your minds when I mentioned sweets is diabetes. Well, they are linked. But did you know that the saying, “eating too much sweets cause diabetes” is a myth? Yes a myth. Sugar in itself does not cause diabetes – it causes obesity. Obesity increases your risk of picking up type 2 diabetes.
Yes, chubby kids are cute. But it would be heartbreaking if we put diabetes type 2 as probability in the future. Imagine them having to live with medicine for diabetes for the rest of their lives. So, to avoid this probability, let’s keep check on our chocolate (and all things sweet) intake at a balance – not too much, not too little (wink!) Don’t give in to their sweet tooth, chocolate isn’t the only reward you know.
#3 Not Eating The Right Foods
In today’s rushed society, parents overlook the importance of eating the right foods. We can’t rely on take-out all the time – it’s unhealthy for the adults and it’s especially unhealthy for the kids. Also, what I really wanted to say is eat your V-E-G-E-T-A-B-L-E-S! – I’m not talking to the kids, I’m talking to you, parents. Don’t let your kids be straight-up carnivores – they have to be herbivores as well. And you can’t just yell at them and tell them to eat their veggies if you’re also just eating the meat. Practice what you preach.
#4 Cigarette Smoking
Vices. How twisted is it that we think we can tell our kids that, “smoking is bad” or “drinking is bad”, but do it anyway. Lee Haney said, “Parents must lead by example. Don’t use the cliché – do as I say and not as I do. We are our children’s first and most important role models.”
And may I just remind you of the effects of second-hand smoke (SHS) according to the Center For Disease Control (CDC):
“Secondhand smoke can cause serious health problems in children.
- Studies show that older children whose parents smoke get sick more often. Their lungs grow less than children who do not breathe secondhand smoke, and they get more bronchitis and pneumonia.
- Wheezing and coughing are more common in children who breathe secondhand smoke.
- Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack in a child. Children with asthma who are around secondhand smoke have more severe and frequent asthma attacks. A severe asthma attack can put a child’s life in danger.
- Children whose parents smoke around them get more ear infections. They also have fluid in their ears more often and have more operations to put in ear tubes for drainage.”
If you care about your children’s health or their character, don’t model vices for them.
#5 Technological Dependence
I accept that this is the age of iphones, ipods and ipads. However, I refuse to accept that this is the era of technological dependence. There are a lot of kids with eyes glued to the screen. This is not healthy for them – physically and socially. We cannot substitute apps with real playing – in actual playgrounds, with actual people. But where do they see this eyes-glued-to-the-screen phenomenon? In adults. In their parents. Let’s not bring up kids who are technologically dependent. We want them to experience life, and not just live vicariously through the lives of whoever they’re following online.
Let’s be better parents. Let’s model the right character for our children, because hey, your kid might just be the next president, who knows?
Got anything to add, please sound off on the comment section below.