As was shared in my last post, parenting is not for the faint of heart. We need some tools in our belts for this journey. Implementing healthy choices does not happen overnight. It will also not take place in your family without intention and effort.
Choose Health focuses on three key areas to set a solid foundation of healthy choices for your family:
1. Positive Self Talk
2. Admit When we are Wrong
3. One Thing at a Time
The last post went into detail about admitting when we are wrong. Now we will focus on the two additional strategies.
Hopefully you find ways to affirm your children; catch them doing something right. However, do they hear you affirming your own strengths? Put a post it note on your bathroom mirror, fridge or car dash with a quote or verse reminding yourself of your strengths and purpose. You could even let your kids catch you reciting it out loud. Positive self talk has a ripple effect! Maybe writing notes to yourself is a departure from your personality. Can you start a tradition of finding three things you are grateful for in the morning or bedtime? Write them in a notebook, and then see if after a month you can shift to specific positive words about your strengths and purpose. Words of affirmation are a bit more challenging for some people, so check out this link if you need some ideas.
We parent, therefore we are busy. Without some structure to address priorities one-thing-at-a-time, we can get overwhelmed. We can look at the pile of tasks and find it much easier to avoid them altogether. Show your kids that it takes practice to juggle it all; like using a list or a calendar. In fact, some of your kids might be a huge asset with this kind of activity! When there are things left on the list, let them know you are OK with leaving it for tomorrow so you can enjoy dinner as a family, or taking them to their baseball game.
If you don’t choose to practice the daily tasks and the challenges of life with a one-thing-at-a-time plan of attack, then you could be modeling avoidance. Ouch! We have to specifically guard against modeling avoidance because avoidance leads to addictive behaviors. Ask any former addict and they will confirm that addiction is never intentional. It creeps up. It is one small habit of avoidance at a time. Can you hear yourself tell your child, who is having a difficult day, “Let’s go out for ice cream!” Don’t get me wrong, going out for ice cream can be a great tool for parents to build communication. But do we only go when there is a sad day? We can use it as an open door to get our child to redirect their sadness, anger or hurt and process why they felt that way. Or we could use it as a quick fix to cover the pain up with hot fudge and whipped cream.
What you model for your kids matters. You can equip them to manage stress, so when they are faced with an onslaught of peer pressure and the weight of fitting into a culture that promotes substance use and junk sex, then they are set up for choosing health.
Choose Health Founder and Lead Educator