Be a Good Role Model
|April 18, 2013||Posted by Carrie under attitude about food, balance|
Kids don’t listen to lectures. Maybe someday when they’re older, they’ll hear your words coming out of their mouth and be shocked. But, they’re really good at tuning out a lecture.
The thing I find most effective in getting my kids to learn life lessons is to be a good role model.
I keep this in mind in parenting as much as I can.
I don’t want to hear my children using swear words – so I don’t use them myself.
I don’t want my kids to be dishonest – so I try to be honest myself.
I don’t want my kids to be mean to other people – so I try my hardest to be nice.
I want my kids to learn how to treat their bodies in a healthy way – so I try hard to do the same.
I don’t want my kids to criticize their bodies – so I try to not say anything negative about mine.
I don’t preach to them about eating healthy and exercising. I just do it. Naturally, the converstaions come up and I take teachable moments here and there to communicate my healthy values.
I also try to not put restrictions on them when it comes to food – to a certain extent. I think it’s more helpful for them to understand how to fit health into their regular activities than it is to limit things and put restrictions on treats. If I control these choices their whole lives, when they get to have more autonomy, they’ll have no idea how to handle balance.
Like with soda – they’ve had it, although thankfully neither one of them like it. But, they know how I feel about soda and they know why. When the topic comes up, we talk about it quickly and then move on.
I have several friends who tell me stories about how restrictive their parents were when it came to food and treats. Now, as adults, they struggle with keeping balance. I had the same problem. When I was a young kid, we NEVER had dessert. Only on special occassions. That led to a major overeating issue for me when I started to have some freedom as an older child.
My kids eat junk food. Yep. They do.
I don’t buy a lot of junk food because I don’t want them to think that it’s okay to have all the time. The junk-y type food that I do buy, I usually buy in single serving packs. One serving of chips or cookies at a time is plenty.
They also have fruits and vegetables and other food with good nutrition… and they are very active.
It’s all about balance. It’s all about teaching them to make their own decisions. They need to make mistakes and learn from them. They need to have those days where they’ve eaten too much candy and see how icky they feel so that they know better the next time. They won’t believe me if I just tell them. You can’t preach to kids. They’ll stop listening.
I can be a good role model. I can show them that I do have treats (when they’re worth it to me). I can be a good role model when I talk about food and about my body. I NEVER tie food to good or bad beahavior. The food choices that I make or that my kids make are NEVER ever shameful or a reflection of them as a person. Food is just that. Food. It is not something to tie any judgement to.
If I’m not eating healthy and taking care of my body, how can I possibly teach my kids to do the same. Kids pay much more attention to our actions than to our words. Although we all know that negative words leave an equally lasting impact, you really can’t be a good role model without walking the walk.
Really – that’s what I want my kids to learn about food. Food doesn’t need to have such emotional pull. It’s just food. We eat it, we enjoy it and we move on. Our food choices DO NOT define us as people.
When my kids are having a day or two of not so healthy choices, we then work on fitting in some more healthy choices. It’s not a punishment. It’s a lesson in taking care of their bodies. It’s not about restricting either. It’s about adding in healthy food, or healthy activities. We don’t take away – we add in the good stuff. And then there’s hopefully less room for the not so healthy stuff.
By being a good role model, I also make mistakes. No one is perfect, but I can also teach them to learn from mistakes and to move on and to not beat themselves up about it. No one is perfect and I don’t expect them to be either.
The other thing I try to encourage is for them to listen to their bodies. If they aren’t hungry, they don’t need to eat. If they’re hungry, they should eat and they should stop when they’re full. They’re both really good at that and I hope they don’t lose those intuitive eating skills as they get older like most adults do.
The best thing I can do for my kids is to be a good role model. I think it’s the best way to have the lessons sink in.
It’s Fitness Friday – thanks Jill for hosting!