How Can I Be A Positive Role Model For My Children?
Physical health is directly connected to self-esteem.
The Self-Esteem Link
A direct connection exists between your physical health and your self-esteem. By becoming a role model for your daughter (and your son), you can help her live a healthier life. In addition, a mother’s weight, body image, attitude and health habits are strong indicators of whether her daughter is overweight, satisfied with her body and physically active. Girls look to their mothers for advice on healthy living. Boys look to their mother as how to interact with someone from the opposite sex and how to treat a woman. The old adage, look how a son treats his mother and you will learn how he will treat his future wife!
And both daughters and sons watch how we treat ourselves, talk about our bodies and practice healthful habits. Use the tips below to manage your health and be a positive role model:
- Choose a doctor with whom you are comfortable.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
- Have a reliable source for health information.
- Know your numbers (weight, BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol).
- Know your risk factors.
- Make a connection between your health exam and lifestyle.
- Make small changes you can stick with to enhance your current wellness.
- Encourage your entire family to eat healthy and exercise regularly and see the health care provider regularly.
Get to Know Your Child’s World
One of the most important and challenging aspects of raising healthy daughters (and sons) is finding the best ways to foster open, honest discussions about health, beauty and self-esteem. Our daily exposure to multi-media messages about how women should look and act might not align with our personal values. Pop culture affects both genders and their perception of morals and values. Our girls and boys do want to have regular talks with us; however, they may need us to initiate these important conversations about growing up and becoming healthy young adults. Need help? Use these hints to start the conversation:
- Tell the girl or teen in your life about living healthy and feeling good about oneself.
- Take note of the changes he or she is going through and celebrate growing up.
- Let your teen know you want them to make safe and healthy choices.
- Make a commitment to your own health and self-esteem.
Show an active interest in learning about "her" world or "his" world:
- Explore the teen world. Listen to their music, read magazines and watch television shows with your child.
- Take a look at the websites he or she visits.
- Invite their friends over and provide a safe place for them to "hang out."
- Don’t insert yourself directly into conversations; however, become a reliable source of trustworthy information for your teen and their friends.
- Talk about the images he or she sees in magazines, videos, TV.
- Ask him or her how they feel about the images they see in the media.
- Point out that a lot of media images are retouched or altered with computer programs.
- Help her or him combat unrealistic images and body types.
- Together, look for positive images and models of healthy living for both your son and daughter to look up to.
Spend Time Together
In the midst of our busy lives, make it a priority to spend time together. Let your daughter know that you were her age once and can relate to some of her feelings and pressures. Stay calm about the subjects she wants to discuss. End your discussions with positive comments about her abilities and future potential. Spend time with your son discussing what it means to you and to him about what it means to become a man. Seek out positive male role modes for your son, and for your daughter too. Young teens immensely benefit from a positive and caring relationship with a trusting adult who can help them navigate through the tumultuous teen years and serve as a guidepost for your family's values and aspirations.
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