Parenting is time consuming on an easy day and can be downright overwhelming on a hard day (and every parent said, “Amen!”). Each of us want the very best for our children, so when we are busy and bombarded by information, how do we implement healthy choices? We can see the need to discuss avoiding substance use, healthy sexuality and other sensitive topics with our kids. But maybe you get stuck because you yelled at them for not doing their homework…again. You’re not alone.
My name is Raechelle Rodriguez. I began a journey with Choose Health simply as a mom who wanted a comprehensive health education curriculum for my teenage daughter. The letters behind my name are not MD or PHD, they are MOM. I don’t believe that those letters disqualify me, nor do they invalidate the truths that I have researched and share with a community of parents who want a better future for their kids. In fact, I think it makes me more relatable. In September 2018 I recognized that the need for health education was far greater than for just my family. So here we are, in pursuit of a better way to educate kids and inform parents.
Choose Health focuses on three key areas to set a solid foundation of healthy choices for your family:
Positive Self Talk
Admit When we are Wrong
One Thing at a Time
Let’s dive into just the second key. Model for your kids that it’s healthy and important to admit when you are wrong. This can be tough if it was never modeled for you. Some of us might have grown up in an environment where parents were authoritarian and used phrases like, “Because I said so,” or “Do as I say, not as I do.” If your kids see you ask for forgiveness from each other as spouses for small things, then it is a perfect example of how to admit their wrongs with their siblings and friends. And even more, asking your child for forgiveness when you have made a mistake carries A LOT of weight. My children can attest to the fact that I have lost my cool, raised my voice and barked out instructions more times than I would like to admit. They would also attest to the fact that I have come to them afterward and corrected it. I might say, “I was wrong to snap at you. I am having a hard time because (I don’t feel well, it was a hard day at work…), but that is not your fault. Will you forgive me?”
Or it could have been a legitimate conflict with your child. I have humbly said, “I was frustrated that you didn’t listen to me, but I should not have responded by yelling at you. I am sorry.”
I know, I know. This sounds soooo hard! But I promise that a little humility and positive conflict resolution will impress to your children that even when we lose it or disagree, we can move forward without holding a grudge or resentment, which can end up trashing not only family relationships, but every relationship in their life as they grow up and become parents themselves.
Here is how I know this is a win. At age 14, my oldest daughter began owning her part in the conflict in that moment. She would reply that she forgave me, admit that she should have listened, and say that she was sorry. (Lest you think I birthed some mythical creature, no she does not own her part every single time. She is human like her mama). Humility can feel prickly, but it opens the door for more communication and a stronger relationship. And open communication with our kids is vital!
Making the time to help your kids talk through their choices, including admitting our wrongs is, in my opinion, one of the most critical areas of helping them be healthy. Our #1 goal should be keeping the dialogue open. Notice I said dialogue. In case you might be like me and use slightly more words than the average person in a day, we need a reminder to listen. Part of our Tools for Parents seminar includes role playing conversations with our kids. This gives parents ideas on how to encourage more air time for your kids’ voice.
Choose Health student courses aim to provide content that genuinely is age appropriate and medically accurate. We also provide tools for parents so that you can discuss health choices with your children based on your own social, moral or spiritual biases. We acknowledge the research that shows parents still have the greatest influence over their children, and we support parents in their right to guide their child to make healthy choices.
Choose Health Founder and Lead Educator