Many parents think they’re setting a positive role model for their teens by exercising and staying fit, but the kids don’t seem to care, a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests. A growing body of research indicates that being physically fit in childhood reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood, but the study found there was little correlation between teens’ fitness levels and the teens, who had one or both parents who regularly engaged in physical activity.
The problem with this study is that being a role model is setting a good example, but kids need more than “look at me, see what I am doing” involvement. Have you ever known someone who is a show-off? Well, I have, and well it turns me off too, I almost want to do the opposite of what they are doing just to say to them…big deal!
Or how about a role model who is so rigid and over the top about being active? This type of role model is doing more harm than good, who wants to hear about health and fitness 24/7 (well maybe I do) ok back to my example, teens especially don’t want this nagging.
The third type of bad role model is a do as I say not as I do, well forget you, you are not even a role model.
The fourth type of role model is a parent who has recently discovered how to eat well and exercise more and immediately wants the entire family to join in. This won’t work in the beginning either, especially if you have tried and failed in the past, your family will just sit back and expect you to fail once again.
So what can you do to be a Positive Role Model?
Try these steps:
1. Visualize your goal, what does this mean to you? More vegetables, a walking program, lose weight? You know your family better than anyone else, so see your goal and list the steps it will take to get there.
2. Commitment: Are you committed to this goal? What obstacles will you and your family face? What will it take to get your family onboard?
3. Communicate. Call the family together, I know it sounds cheesy, but it works, you wouldn’t expect a CEO of a company to implement challenges without the staff being onboard, would you? You are the CEO of your family! Create this goal as a family, listen to what each family member says, and allow input from everyone.
4. Follow through. You are the CEO of your family, follow through with every step of your family plan, from grocery shopping to family outings.
5. Stay positive. Always, from obstacles (which are only learning experiences) to rewards (non-food). Before you go to bed every night, be grateful for any steps you took today in making your family life more healthy, and when you wake up think of 3 things you will do today to create a healthier home. Your kids will thank you…someday!