Teach Children Positive Self-Image Through Fitness - By Lynn Bode
Raising a pre-teen or teenage daughter (or son) is not easy and can cause
any parent a lot of stress. There?s so much to worry about ? dating, drugs, alcohol,
sex, school grades, just to name a few. But one crucial element often gets overlooked
until it manifests itself in extreme ways (like through an eating disorder). I?m
talking about self-image. It?s extremely important that parents ensure that their
children have a positive self-image, especially in relation to their body.
The key to ensuring strong self-esteem and a positive body image starts with
the parent. If you don?t feel positive about your self-image, then how can you expect
your children to? While this is important for both daughters and sons, it is especially
critical for raising a healthy daughter. And beginning the lessons when a girl is
young is imperative, so don?t wait until it?s too late ? teaching your daughter
to feel good about her body needs to start at a very young age.
Eating disorder experts say girls are developing eating disorders as young as
5 and 6 years old. And a recent study indicated that 70% of the sixth-grade girls
they surveyed said they began worrying about their weight between ages 9 and 11.
Why are so many young girls thinking that they are fat? Many are obsessing about
their weight because they have parents who are preoccupied with their own poor body
While the statistics are disheartening, the good news is that there?s a lot that
can be done to help our children have positive self-images. And, even small changes
that parents make can help. Here are few tips to help your children avoid warped
and negative body images:
? Establish a ?no diet talk? rule. When your children are nearby, DON?T talk
about dieting or how fat you feel! This is extremely important. Remember, kids are
listening all the time (even when you think that they aren?t ? especially then).
So, even though asking your spouse or friend ?do I look fat in this?? may seem innocent,
it can have a life-altering effect on your kids when they repeatedly hear it.
? Parents aren?t the only adults that influence their children. Set the ?no diet
talk? rule mentioned above for all adults that are around your children. This means
you shouldn?t allow your friends, parents, siblings, neighbors, or anyone else to
talk about being fat or being on a diet when they are around your children.
? Set a good example. If your children never see you engage in fitness or if
they hear you complain about working out, then they are going to have a negative
image of exercise. Let them know that you workout to stay healthy, to be strong
and to have more energy and stamina (so you can keep up with them)!
? Get your kids involved in sports. Experts say that playing sports really helps
build confidence and improves self-esteem (especially for girls).
? Teach your children to include physical activity as part of their daily routine.
But don?t force them to exercise. Make sure that the physical activity is seen as
something fun to do rather than teaching them to think of exercise as a necessary
evil. Good activities include taking a nightly family walk, turning off the t.v.
and instead turning music on that you all can dance to, or taking a weekend family
? Try to prepare (or if you are short are time purchase) healthy meals. And teach
them the importance of good nutrition. Don?t let them have the misconception that
there are ?good? and ?bad? foods. If a kid thinks that candy is a ?bad? food, then
naturally they will just want it more. Just try to encourage your kids to eat a
balanced diet each day and to eat sugary or fatty foods in moderation.
Remember that something as small as talking about losing weight in front of your
kids can have very detrimental effects on their self-image as they age. Damaging
behavior learned from a parent at a young age can take years for a child to overcome.
So, the sooner you start incorporating the tips above into your life, the better
for you child. But don?t forget that it has to start with you ? make sure that you
are incorporating healthy fitness and eating rituals into your daily routine and
that you have a positive body image (no matter what your size or shape is)!
Lynn Bode offers her personal training
services online through her company, WorkoutsForYou.com. Workouts For You provides
even the busiest of parents affordable, personalized exercise programs (via the
Internet)for losing weight, toning-up, building muscles & increasing stamina. The
programs can be done on their schedule and in the comfort of their own home (or
gym or on-the-road). Visit www.workoutsforyou.com
for a FREE sample workout.
How to Effectively Talk to Kids about Tragedies by Barbara McRae, MCC - By
Barbara McRae, MCC
Watching the news around the globe, seeing actual footage of earthquakes,
California mudslides, avalanches and the tsunami, ignite feelings of distress and
overwhelm in adults, let alone in our children.
How young people are affected by such tragedies largely depends on the level
of maturity and overall temperament of each child plus the coping patterns adults
consistently model. It can be difficult for caregivers to cope with their own feelings
and know what to say to help their children handle theirs.
Here are some must-read tips:
Many parents wisely choose to shield their children from graphic news coverage
on TV. If your child is aware of a tragedy, it is important to acknowledge the event
as soon as possible and to empathize with whatever feelings your youngster is expressing
about it. For example, ?It sounds like you are worried that this could happen to
Parents often want to minimize tragic events; they think that by minimizing a
child?s concern, they are protecting their child from further upsets. Talking about
the trauma - unless you keep rehashing it - is healing and keeps vital communication
lines open between parent and child. Denying or ignoring leads to a sense of isolation
and more suffering.
What Not to Do
? Do not tell your children they are being silly, to ?get over it? or ?grow up?
? Do not overreact; it makes matters worse
? Do not let your children avoid facing their fears (have them talk or draw how
? Do not gloss over feelings
DO talk about feelings. By doing so, you are modeling that it is okay to have
feelings and express them in a healthy manner. You?ll be enhancing their emotional
intelligence by helping them develop their feeling vocabulary. Discuss with them
the distinction between being compassionate and having empathy (loving and empowering)
versus taking on the fear, pain, and grief of others (limiting and self-sabotaging).
Provide age appropriate information about how nature creates a tidal wave (or
a volcanic eruption or other natural disaster). If you don?t know, refer to books
or magazines to help you. Make it an opportunity for learning. Keep it simple and
respond to questions without offering too much information. Close your conversation
by redirecting it to feeling grateful that your family is safe.
Preteens and teens typically have more questions and want to discuss events.
Here, too, it?s best to first find out how they are feeling and acknowledge how
they are experiencing the tragedy. Be focused on what?s going on for them and stay
connected by empathizing and asking insightful questions.
A common fear for children, in addition to worrying about their own safety, is
the fear of losing a parent. Are you prepared to answer the question, ?What if you
suddenly die?? One of my clients wasn?t sure how to reassure her children; she wanted
to be honest and direct. Yet she also realized that none of us knows exactly when
we are going to die and didn?t want to make a promise she couldn?t keep.
What you can say is that people don?t normally die until they are very old and
reassure your kids that you?re not planning on dying anytime soon. You can tailor
this answer to fit your religious beliefs and your specific situation.
The best way to help your children is to make sure you have healthy behavior
patterns for handling *your* fears and stress. If you tend to get overly fearful
or keep your feelings to yourself, then your children are likely to do the same.
Being tearful or acknowledging your fear is fine. Freaking out is not. If you are
not feeling calm enough to have these conversations with your kids, take a few minutes
to get centered. If that fails, get the help you need to fully be there for yourself
as well as them.
Remind your children that no matter what happens, there is always help available.
Ask them to begin to look for the ?helpers of the world.? Help them understand the
value of volunteering and the difference non-profit organizations make.
Discuss how your family can help others in need. Kids often feel better when
they can actively participate in providing aid to less fortunate families. They
may want to say a prayer, light a candle, donate possessions, raise money or send
an encouraging letter. Let them take action; it helps children learn the lesson
of love firsthand.
We know that all events can be used for good if we help ourselves become great
role models for our children by using effective communication and coping skills.
We can help them learn how to handle difficult situations in life and teach the
rewards of reaching out to others even if they are half way around the world.
Barbara McRae, MCC, is founder
of Teen Frontier International and author of ?Coach Your Teen to Success?7 Simple
Steps to Transform Relationships and Enrich Lives.? She has positively impacted
the lives of thousands of adults and kids. For more information, visit:
Children articles index
- Brains on Fire: The Multimodality of Gifted Thinkers - By Brock Eide
- laying Baby Computer Games ? The New Parent-Child Tradition? - By Emma
- Book Excerpt: Einstein Never Used Flash Cards - By Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph
- Putting Fun Into Parenting - By David Stoepker, Psy.D., & Erin Brown Con
- Preparing Your Child for a High-Tech Future - By Sue Sato
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Predominantly Inattentive
- Abandonment - By Sonya Green
- Explaining Suicide to Children - by Tracy Pierson
- Our Children`s Needs - by Robert Elias Najemy
- How to Develop Self-Esteem in Children - By J. Bailey Molineux, Ph.D.
- Helping Children Overcome Stress and Fear - By Debbie Milam
- Do you Shout at YOUR children? - By James Middleton
- Book Excerpt: Helping Children with Autism Learn - By Bryna Siegel,
- SPEED SPELLING: Another way to use speed reading skills for "schoolwork&q
- Children and Stress - By Laura Silva Quesada
- Boundaries- Why Are They Needed? - by Derek Randel & Gail Randel M.D.
- Juggling Home
- Explaining World tragedy to Children - By Chick Moorman and Thomas Ha
- Children and Pessimism - By Carol Tuttle
- Loving Yourself, Loving Your Children - By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
- Social Manners for Children - By Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach
- The Sexual Abuse of Children - By J. Bailey Molineux
- A Few Simple Truths About ADHD and Stimulant Drugs - By Steve Edelman1,
- DYSLEXICS and A.D.D. KIDS BECOME GIFTED SPEED READERS - by George Stanc
- Using Feng Shui for Better Behaved Children - By Kathryn Weber
- Book Excerpt: Helping Children with Autism Learn - By Bryna Siegel,
- Five Keys to Raising Nonviolent Children - By Tammy Cox, LMSW
- The Best Way to Reduce Stress: Start Young - By Zach Brull
- Your Child?s Self-Esteem is in The Cards - By Susan Howson
- Calming Tips for Hyperactive Children - By Jeannine Virtue
- What is ADHD? - By Jeannine Virtue
- Talking to Your Children About Sex - By Jan Andersen
- How Our Children Really Learn And Why They Need To Play More And Memo
- HOW DO WE PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM PREDATORS? - By Linda J Alexander,
- Teach Children Positive Self-Image Through Fitness - By Lynn Bode
- No Invitation Needed -- Part 3 of 3 Sacred Children Series - By Skye T
- Helping Our Children Feel Good About Themselves - By Dr.Barbara Becker Hol
- Unidentified Stepfamily Zones - Discoveries Made at a Stepfamily Confer
- Divorce and Children: Things To Consider When You`re Staying Married
- Six facts you should know to empower your teaching. - By Emmanuel
- Are You in an Abusive Situation? - by Colin Gabriel Hatcher & Randall
- The Divorce Revolution Has Failed - By J. Bailey Molineux
- Is Your Child Well-Mannered? - By Mary Jesse
- Jesus` Birthday -- Part 2 of 3 Sacred Children Series - By Skye T
- Empty Nesters: What Should You Do Once the Children Leave? - By Mary Guar
- We should celebrate the diversity of children and adults - By Robyn M
- How to Cope with Back to School Stress - By Debbie Mandel
- HIS KIDS: BECOMING A W.O.W. STEPMOTHER - by Julie Donner Andersen
- ADD / ADHD Children : Being Your Child`s Best Friend - By Kate Hufst