Hey! Parents!! Your Kids Are Paying Attention.

June 10th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Often, kids pay more attention to their parents than I think parents realize.  It’s weird how being a parent must totally mess up your brains.  (No judgment here: I really think it’s weird.  I guess a good weird, but still, weird.)

Do you remember things about your parents from when you were a kid?  How many of the things that you remember about your parents are things based on the way they did something, or how they sat during dinner or how they yelled to get you to come home after playing outside?  (My mom reads my blog so I’m not sharing any of the things here that I remember about either parent from when I was little.  You’re welcome, guys!)

I think kids pay more attention to parents when parents aren’t watching than parents realize. 

This matters because like it or not, what you DO matters when you are a parent.

Even if you are a parent to a teen.  You know they fight with you and you know they pretend you don’t exist when others are around and yet you should also know, THEY ARE WATCHING.  (They’re kind of creepy that way.)

Even if you are a parent to an adult.  You know they aren’t around as much to watch you doing what you do, but they know and unconsciously record what you’re like so they can anticipate what they will be like.

But it absolutely matters if you are a parent to a non-teen or non-adult.  You need to pay attention to your own nutrition, your own health, and your own exercise. 

I will say, I remember (and only talking about my dad here since I don’t think he reads this daily like my mom does) when my dad was diagnosed with high cholesterol maybe a year or two before I was diagnosed with diabetes.  He changed his eating, nearly overnight. 

It was pretty amazing.  We had fish a lot more, we had vegetable stir-fries a lot more, and we had our formerly weekly Sunday night submarine sandwich or bratwurst a lot less.

He also started exercising.  At the time, he found someone to play tennis with, and went a couple times a week.  He went to the track and even invited one of us to go with him a few times.

And you know what?  His cholesterol went down.

So I’m just saying: I’m pretty sure he didn’t do any of that so that he could set a good example for me.  I’m pretty sure he just did it because that’s what his doctor suggested. 

But even that—even following his doctor’s suggestions—was a way he set an example when I wasn’t even with him at the visit. 

Now, he goes to bootcamp every day.  He started going when I was still living at their house (so you know that was a long time ago!) and pretty much goes every day now.  (And since he’s not a reader, I’ll share with you that he is now officially a Senior Citizen.)  My mom started at bootcamp around when I went to camp for the first time.  (And she is a long way from 65.  A really really really long way away.)  They both have made exercise a part of their daily lives.

Both of my parents set a pretty good example for me by doing what they can to keep themselves healthy.  I appreciate that.

So, sorry to rain on your fantasy parade, parents, but your job is never over.  Ever.

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