An unspoken expectation hidden within the imaginary parenting guide is that nagging comes with the territory. Children are notorious for their selective listening skills, and these only become more discerning as they travel into their teenage years.
Parents nag kiddos. The sky is blue. Each are unarguable.
“Pick up your towel!”
“Put your shoes away!”
“If I trip over this Xbox cord one more time…”
The issue here in lies the lack of boundaries between these annoyance-tinged reminders and the ways we encourage healthy relationships with food and bodies. The encouragement to nourish their bodies and look after their eating and exercise patterns begin to mimic the grumbling nature of our broken record requests.
“You’ve already had a slice of pizza today, are you really going to eat another?”
“You need to get outside more, or you’re going to regret it!”
I say this while exuding compassion…
Cut it out!
Here is your wake-up call, folks. Attempting to guilt youngsters into engaging in something does not get anyone anywhere healthy. All this guilt and passive aggressive complaining does is foster a negative self-image, defeating self-talk, and lackluster motivation at best. Instead, model the choices and behaviors you crave to witness in your children. If you want them to embrace a healthy eating habit and relationship with food, be the role model! Become aware of your own narrative attached to the way you view your body and your food choices. Take the shame out of the equation and there will likely be a different result. If you want your children to be more active, get active with them!
I want to validate the exhaustion and depleted motivation that comes with being a parent. It’s not easy to wear all of the hats you have to wear to identify as a responsible adult. However, your kiddos are watching and listening to your every move. The narrative that plays out in your mind can get passed down to your kiddos relatively quickly, whether you like it or not. Children are sneaky in this way.
Remember that healing you talked about engaging in? Healing those old wounds, you swore you’d never pass down? Hop to it friends.
Be the change you crave to see in your children. Bare witness to your narrative and rest assured they are listening.