Parents often influence their children more than they realize. More often than not, the influences that stick with us for life are those that come from day to day living. I often wonder what parental influence I will have on my children, what day to day behaviours, actions and choices I make will stick with my children into their adult lives.
Growing up, my Mom was in charge of the grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking (among many other very important things). My Dad had some household jobs, but he had a very demanding job that often required him to work long hours. In his “down time”, I remember my Dad sleeping (napping) a lot. He would fall asleep in his comfortable chair and no wonder because he worked such long and demanding hours at a rewarding, yet challenging job. BUT, there is one thing that regardless of how tired he was that he NEVER let slide and that was his daily exercise. He would come home, often missing dinner and would head straight for the basement where he had a rowing machine and he would row for what would seem like hours. I still remember the sound of his machine moving back and forth. I also remember vividly how hard he pushed himself during his workouts as he would be dripping with sweat and often out of breath. While it was likely frustrating for my Mom that my Dad put such a high priority on his daily exercise, I am glad that he did. This was his stress relief; it felt good and it allowed him to decompress from his day. This was him putting himself first. Little did he know, his focus on making his exercise such a priority also sent my sister and I a message that his health was important to him.
There are likely parts of our daily routine that our children observe and we don’t even realize the impact that our actions potentially have on our children. Writing this post has made me sit back and analyze my daily life, trying to view it from a child’s point of view.
What do I give importance to?
Do I focus on my health enough and what about my personal happiness. As a Stay at Home Mom, I will admit that I often felt like I was putting my life on hold for quite a number of years, and I finally feel like I am coming out on the other side where I am putting more value on myself as an individual more. I have learned and appreciated the importance of showing our children that we do put priorities on ourselves (as well as them, of course).
There is a saying that rings loud and clear in my mind, something that many people have shared with me along the way….”If you don’t put yourself as number one and take care of yourself, how can you possibly take care of your family?” – I finally understand and appreciate exactly what this means.
For me, I want my children to learn the following (along with many other things in life, naturally):
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For me I haven’t really focused on health things, although i do sometimes. Lately I have been thinking about my actions they will pick up, and my attitude. I am really focusing on better cleaning habits, and a better general attitude.
For sure our actions, the way we talk, the habits we have….all of them can have similar effects on what our children are observing!
As a mom I have to admit that I haven’t focused on health issues such as the best foods to eat by talking about this subject.I however do try very hard to make and eat balance a balance diet and I work fruit veggies,nuts and grains into their diets too.Thanks for the great review.
I enjoyed this article very much. I’m not sure what I passed on to my children, probably a sense for money, love for the family including aunts, uncles, cousins etc. I’m afraid the exercise part didn’t get enough attention – I was running after 7 children so I guess I didn’t really need any other exercise at the time. I should do more now that my children are all adults. 🙂
I have read that ‘90% of parenting is caught, not taught.’ The explanation is that nature makes parenting like this so that it comes naturally, from the way you were raised. It certainly seems to be true in most cases. It also gives you pause on how important you and your partner’s parenting style affects your children.
It blows my mind when I see my 14 year old daughter “mini parenting” my 6 year old son! I’m like “wow – she is mimicking ME and she doesn’t even know it!”
As a single parent, I am so aware of how powerful my influence on my kids!
This was very informative and so good to read.