A series examining the tough breaks all parents go through.
Bad habits are hard to break. Many are passed down through generations to our kids. It's time we parents, look in the mirror and ask ourselves what habits should we break in order to raise our children well. Here are three:
1. Being late.
Children are tardy for various reasons, avoidance, disorganization, attention getting, attention-deficit, rebellion - you name it. But often our kids are late because we are. Having a reputation for chronic tardiness can be a serious negative on a child academically and socially. If you have a tardy challenge in your household, be honest and ask yourself if you might have something to do with it. Do you let your kids stay up late, do you help them get off to school on time? Do you tend to run behind yourself, thus affecting your child's arrival time. Here are ways for the entire household to...
Break the bad habit:
- Schedule bedtime at a decent hour. My suggestion: 7-8 PM from toddlers to 5th grade. 8-9 PM for middle schoolers. By 10:30 PM for high schoolers and parents too. Kids need lots of sleep to be alert for school. Parents do too, so go to bed!
- Clothes picked out, homework, lunches, briefcases packed and baths taken the night before
- Alarm clocks set 15 minutes before wake-up time.
- Breakfast food available and within reach (Allow time to eat)
- Timer set to keep everything flowing (you can get those at Walgreen's. It worked wonders in my household).
If you're raising a slow poke in a household of on-timers, s/he may be avoiding something or someone, stressed, upset or may have a disorder (such as Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD). Talk to your child to find out what's going on in school and with friends. Also teachers can give you valuable insight on your child's performance. It's crucial that you communicate with them. If recommended, have your child visit the doctor.
Insisting that your 110 pound third grader is just "thick" is a lie. S/he is obese. What and how much you feed your child, how much exercise s/he gets and how emotionally healthy your child is has a lot to do with weight gain. We pass on our own eating habits to our children. Obesity is an epidemic in our country - especially in the African-American community. More children are developing Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma at young age. Parents, we have to stop swimming in the sea of denial and change our eating and feeding habits. Are you allowing the corner store and fast food joints to feed your family? Does your household feast on snacks, cookies, and candy rather than fruits and veggies? Do you serve fried foods and starches rather than balanced meals? If yes to any one of these questions, it's time to...
Break the bad habit:
- Limit the amount of fatty, junk and fast foods you feed your family. A daily diet of burgers, fries, chicken- in-a-bucket and chips is a recipe for obesity, disease and death.
- Don't use food as a reward
- Be aware of cues that prompt you and your child to eat when not hungry e.g. food commercials, food aromas, the sight of food, stress, boredom, etc.
- Find out what's going on emotionally. We tend to eat when we're sad, angry, etc. Same with your child
- Add more fruits and vegetables to the family diet
- Learn more about ways to beat overeating by reading this latest study, "New Approach to Management of Overeating Children" and joining our First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move movement, www.letsmove.gov.
Secondhand smoke (from cigarettes (and blunts) is hazardous to your child's health. Do what you have to do to break the smoking habit and preserve your life and the lungs of your family .
Break the bad habit:
- Try nicotine-replacement therapy or doctor prescribed pills
- Enlist the support of friends and family. Your child can be your biggest cheerleader
- Avoid triggers that prompt you to smoke e.g. eating, alcohol or coffee
- Manage stress with massages, exercise and activities
- Put the cigarette money you save in a jar and reward yourself once you've kicked the habit
Call 1 (800) QUIT-NOW or visit http://www.smokefree.gov/for more information.
What other bad habits do you think you or other parents should break to improve raising kids?
Next: The Tough Breaks of Parenting: Break the Cycle
Tags: Breaking bad habits, chicago public schools, Edye Deloch-Hughes, Overeating bad habit, Parenting and smoking, Parenting bad habits, public schools, Raising Hell or Raise Them Well, Tardiness bad habit, Tough breaks in parenting