Dear friends, I recently completed a year of doing my column “Parenting on Purpose” and I’ve written my last article, at least for now. It has been a wonderful year and I have very much appreciated your support! It has been so gratifying to hear from you, and answer questions you’ve had regarding the very important […]
As a parent, you may feel like you want to watch over your kids’ health like a hawk. You want to make sure they eat right, take their vitamins, go to sleep at a decent hour, wash their hands, etc. etc.
You know it isn’t possible to watch their every move, but at least you want to set a good foundation of habits for them.
Are you observing this same set of good habits, and when was the last time you were so diligent over your own health? Of course you want your kids to grow up to be healthy. That’s why you encourage them to do all the right things.
As they get older, you teach them why healthy habits are important. At some point, you might teach them to check in with their Internal Guidance System (IGS) and make some of these decisions for themselves. How does it feel to them when they eat poorly, don’t get enough sleep or are out of balance in some way? Chances are, not well.
I remember as my kids were growing up I tried to be so diligent in teaching them the best habits of self- care, but they were often rejected. I knew though, that some day they would pay attention to the fact their habits made them feel poorly. Sure enough that’s what happened and they eventually chose healthier ways that felt better. It was in their-own timing, not mine.
I knew that in order to affect my children in the positive way I wanted to I needed to live in the manner I was trying to influence them in. It’s important that you take care of your body for two very important reasons. One is for your own health. The second is to inspire your kids in the way you want.
While taking care of yourself for you own sake is important, many people tend to misinterpret the concept of taking care of oneself as wrong and as being selfish, so they’ll put their own needs last.
Yet if you tell your kids it’s important to take care of their health and they see you neglect yours, what do you think they’ll do? Chances are, they’ll most likely model your behavior instead of do what you tell them to do.
When you demonstrate to your kids that your needs and health are less important than theirs, they unconsciously pick up on that message. They learn to treat you as being less important and they also learn that parents in general are less important than their children. This isn’t a lesson that’ll serve them well when they become parents themselves one day.
So if you aren’t going to take care of yourself because it’s important for you, then do it for your kids. And maybe in doing so you’ll discover how important it is to put your health needs at the top of the priority list.
The important lesson to teach your kids is that everyone is responsible for their own health. Kids need help when they’re young and need to be taught how to take care of themselves by adults. And they need to see that these lessons are to be carried throughout their adult lives when there won’t be anyone there to remind them.
Please feel free to comment.
© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.