With Family Day approaching, we asked some of our Global Edmonton parents which habits they gave up in order to be better role models for their children.
I gave up warmth in winter. I used to avoid going outside when the temperature dropped below -5°C (I know – I’m a terrible Canadian). Now that I have my boy, Danick (age 5), I force myself to bundle up and leave the house. We go on nature walks, tobogganing and to winter festivals. I even bought myself a toque and heavy winter boots! I want my son to be active, no matter what season it is. And now we have some great snowy memories.
I gave up television as background noise. I didn’t realize how much we had the TV on until the baby grew into “screen watching” age and would stop what he was doing to see what was on TV.
I’m not going to be so naive to say I’m completely eliminating Coca-Cola, but I would like to cut my two-decade-old habit of having it daily. I don’t want my daughter to see it as a normal drink. I no longer keep it in my home. Now I just need the will power to walk on past the machine at work!
I pretend to like spiders, which I am actually terrified of!! I have even let one walk on my hand before—which may not seem like a big deal—but for me that is HUGE!!
When Logan was about two years old we were outside and he saw a spider and started to squeal. He ran away, saying he doesn’t like spiders because he’s scared of them. That’s when I realized he got that fear from me.
I don’t want him to be scared of something—or for that matter, love something—just because I do or l am. I want him to decide how he feels about things. So now, I am very aware of anything that scares me. I am honest with him in saying I don’t love spiders, but I try to show him they are not something to fear.
I gave up “my time to work out in the evening” so I can spend time with the boys.
I incorporate some exercise into our activities. If we go to the park, I will run and push them in the stroller. In the winter they may sit in the sled while I run with the rope around my waist. I look like a mad woman pulling my kids and dog around my waist – but hopefully they see how being active can be part of our everyday life.
I had to give up America’s Next Top Model, which I used to love to watch. The models were such train-wrecks—shallow, insecure, viciously catty—but all my daughter saw was the pretty girls and the constant evaluation of them. I couldn’t bear for her to see it without the protection of a developed sense of irony.
I try to be careful of what I say around body image stuff – how I speak about myself and others. We are all—girls especially I think—bombarded with these messages that we are not good enough or that we must constantly be “fixing” something. I want her to feel good about herself and make positive decisions, not decisions made out of what she perceives others’ expectations to be.
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