Over the course of many years in my personal training profession, there’s one story that I still hear time and again during initial consultations. Parents complaining that their kids take up so much time and this is what caused them to become overweight, unhealthy and out of shape. While nobody can dispute the ongoing demands, challenges and stress associated with raising children, let’s pause for a moment to reflect. Does being a parent automatically equate to a loss of self-care? Does it drive you to mindlessly overeat and succumb to an unhealthy lifestyle? Once you become a parent, must you forego good habits under the premise that taking care of your health is selfish, or that there’s just not enough time in the day?
The problem with this line of thinking is that healthy habits aren’t being viewed as part of your lifestyle, but rather, as something that interferes with it. We all have choices. The decisions we make are dictated by our values. Realistically, if parents make health a priority that value would become apparent within the first PHS component: Lifestyle Management. Not only would they take responsibility for their health and well-being, they would instill this value into their kids and inspire them to develop these same good habits as well. All too often, that’s not the case. I’ve seen first-hand the detrimental effects that self-neglect has on a parent’s psyche and overall health. They do get stressed out and blame it on their kids. Unfortunately, this may also result in verbal abuse or domestic violence. As a parent, you can prevent this from happening by taking regular time-outs to manage your personal stress.
If you establish healthy boundaries, this will help you realize that your unmanaged stress is not your child’s fault. Kids will always be kids. Managing stress is a skill that everybody needs to learn. The best way to build and teach healthy behaviors is by being proactive, not reactive. Take care of yourself and if you want to improve the health and well-being of your family, teach them to implement the PHS. Today, make a new choice not to use your kids as a scapegoat for all your stress and health issues. Instead, appreciate them, love them and be proud of them! Lives are impacted all over the world by the birth of one child and the overall impact is good—children are wonderful, dearly precious gifts from God. Without them, this world would be a gloomy place, and people would still be out of shape and unhealthy.
Psalm 127: 3-4: “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.” Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
To learn more about managing your stress refer to Chapter 5 (pages 68-78) and Chapter 8 (page 136).