Melanie Hargrave, guest contributor
Being a parent gives you an abundance of parenting components to think about and remember, so naturally many good practices may fall through the cracks. But one of the most important responsibilities that cannot be overlooked by a parent is to constantly set a good example. Here are some signs that you may need to change your habits to not only improve your child’s outlook, but also yourself as a person.
You’re Eating Badly
Your eating habits will leave an impression on your children, whether or not you eat the same foods together. Eating too late and eating sugary or fatty food will imply that children will be able to indulge in those habits when they are older. Be sure to eat foods that are wholesome for both of you. If you are the one protecting them from your own bad eating habits now, who will protect them in the future?
You Don’t Do Housework
Depending on what kind of household you live in, you might have a maid or other help come in to assist you with housework. If your children never see you working, they may get a skewed view of how life is supposed to work as an adult. Make sure you set a chore schedule for the family. Try to make the work fun by operating together as a group.
It’s not just your body and mental health you’re affecting by neglecting to exercise. Children have plenty of energy to put toward being active, but the less active you are with them the more that energy will dwindle away. Help your children find sports or hobbies to fall in love with now, so that they’ll start good habits and keep them throughout their lives.
You Shirk Obligations
We’ve all had that party we were planning on going to, but decided not to at the last minute because we were too tired. If your child witnesses this kind of flakiness, it will permanently skew the way they view commitments to others. The next time you or your child feels the desire to shirk an obligation, verbalize your thought process. “Well, I’m tired, and I’d rather stay at home and play. But I made a promise and I can’t break promises.”
You’re in a Bad Relationship
This is a controversial topic, but it depends on what you want for your children. Most feel that the foundation of a family is most important for child development, but to others the relationship between mother and father must be positive for it to do any good. Make sure you are being treated well if you want your children to succeed in their future relationships. If you are stuck in a toxic relationship, consider whether your children’s futures are at stake if you can’t end the relationship for yourself.
You Choose Not to Be Happy
Children are happy creatures, but they also learn quickly. Life as an adult is much harder than it is as a child, but you may want to reevaluate the way you approach it. Happiness is so much about attitude that you should ensure you’re looking at life as positively as possible — if not for yourself, for the sake of your child. Have conversations with them, talk about everything that is going well, and teach them to look for the beauty in life. You will prepare them with valuable tools for the rest of their lives, and you will learn a valuable lesson yourself in the meantime.
Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, and sharing her experiences with others. She is an advocate for women’s rights, and supports Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoefflin and his services for women.