16 September 2009

Children matter

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~Stacia Tauscher

Before we worry, we need to parent. There are so many people out there giving advice on how to raise children, some coming from actual parents and some coming from non-parents. Who has the best advice?

I think about all the other parents I meet, how they raise their children, some of the things they said about being a parent or about their children. Some is truly refreshing, and some is truly disturbing. It's a wonder why some people have the problems they have parenting and raising children.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the "Biggest Loser" last night, it was truly a tear jerker and a reminder that "we can achieve anything" if we put our all into the effort. What was very sad to see was that many people who struggle with their weight are adults who had issues from when they were children. These issues arise for various reasons, parents don't teach there children about nutrition, parents who let their children do whatever they want/eat whatever they want. Sometimes they do this because the parent themselves are struggling with food issues or other issues, or other times it is because the parents let the food replace them in their children's lives. It's so unfair to a child to be brought into the world and just left to "fend" for themselves and grow up to become adults that have serious issues to deal with.

It's one thing to walk around and sing the, "I want to get married and have children" song. That's why we are here on earth right? To fall in love, have a family, have children. When you make a conscious decision to bring a child into the world, you should also make a conscious decision to be the best darn parent you can be! A child has to be nurtured, loved, taught, helped....

Your daily habits, conversations, choices, will impact them at some point in some kind of way.

I have come to realize that simply giving my children oatmeal for breakfast, some fruits, some vegetables, water, toys, clothes, vacations is not the only way I should approach raising healthy children. I have come to realize that much of life's "happenings" impact our children on so many levels. Some children are good at pretending not to be affected by certain things, but later on in life, you may come to learn that "stuff" that you thought they were not so concerned with back then, has suddenly come to the surface in their lives and it is now making a profound statement.

I hear some parents say, "put that child in his place... make him understand..." And how do you do this successfully without causing emotional problems in your child?? When you see your child sitting around, looking sad, looking unhappy .... you can't just walk up to him or her and say, "hey, stop looking sad!" What is the truth behind why they look like that? Doesn't it matter to find out??

I have a sensitive child myself. I can look back and I can see where I think it started to unfold. It's been a struggle dealing with it because on one hand, it's a treasure to have a child who "cares" and will voice/show it, but on the other hand, out in the big world, it can be to his detriment to be this way. So the task at hand is to teach him about life's daily challenges and equip him with the ability to know when to be sensitive and when to perhaps just remain neutral.

My mind dashed all over the place. I thought about those days when you may be driving down the street and someone cuts you off, or you go into the store to return something and the salesperson is unnecessarily nasty towards you.... I thought about the mumblings of comments I would make like, "that idiot!" I thought about how I would get angry, or keep the tension going after the incident was over. My children are there, perhaps not even truly paying attention to me or what is happening, but I realize that in those moments, I taught them such behavior. I can blame myself. I can't blame them if later I see them talking to each other like that or treating other people like that, or handling situations they get into in a similar fashion.

This is not about teaching our children to be wimpy or unemotional, but more so about teaching them how to behave effectively. We have the power to do this in a way that we may be able to help them along to become better human beings and to be able to handle their own issues effectively.

Last night my son came home very upset. Apparently in the midst of a discussion with his father about something truly insignificant, he turned to his father and told him "Daddy you were a geek when you were younger." There was more said, but that was the zinger of the statement he made. His father did not appreciate that, and chose to make my son understand that it's not nice to say mean things to someone and added that if he said something like that to another friend, that friend might want to punch him out. It suddenly became a "punishing." Well, I did not agree with this one bit. I did not agree with his father's reaction.

The object of the game is not to take one zinger and create another zinger in return. After my ex-husband left, I had a nice, short chit-chat with my son. While he showered, I sat in the bathroom talking to him. My 10 year old appreciates being spoken to with love to get the lesson across. I told him that I am an adult and if he told me I was a geek it surely would not hurt my feelings one bit. I told him that not everyone understands that you are not trying to be hurtful when you say certain things, but words do have the ability to hurt people. I explained to him that he is to be careful about doing such a thing. Some of us have the capacity to live by that great old saying, "sticks and stones..." but some of us don't. I made it short and in the end, he said, "thank you Mommy, when I get out of the shower I want to give you a big hug."

I am trying to work on him to make him understand about how important it is for him to believe in himself. What do you think about you? We can love our children dearly, but we need to teach them to love themselves, to respect themselves.... When we can do this effectively, we strengthen them. When they go out on their own, they know what is worth getting angry about, they know what to walk away from. They learn that the only person they have to prove themselves to ... is themselves. And when they master this, they realize that other people and their feelings matter too.

This all comes back to HEALTH and the Biggest Loser. Our children need to learn how to love and respect themselves. We can talk to them about it... we can show them love.... but we NEED to be the example as well. We must make healthy choices.. across the board. Food, relationships, behavior, staying positive, smiling ... it all matters.

Think about some of the things you do that your children see you do, or some of the things you say. Forget about that old saying, "don't do as I do, do as I say." Our children are intelligent and that one will never work today.

My son pays attention and thinks about everything, it's his personality. It used to be a challenge getting him to stay in bed and sleep late when he was a bit younger. I get up early to exercise and do some chores. When he would get up too early, I would ask him, "why are you up so early?" He would reply, "well you are up early." They do look at us and sometimes decide, " I want to be like my mommy or my daddy." I got some books/articles to show him that children are supposed to get a lot more sleep than adults.

I am not an authority as my children are only 7 and 10, but I have recognized that when I am in another room and they are interacting, I am hearing things that are amazingly familiar to me come out of their mouths. It makes me smile.

As we go along, and they grow and get more independent, I still plan to be close by offering some great wisdom and suggestions if they are struggling. I am their mother, it IS my job to raise healthy children !

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