The words we hear early in life often stick with us, whether they are positive or negative. They can come from childhood friends, bullies, teachers, and, most importantly, parents.
The attitude and reinforcement parents use toward their children can set the course of their lives, putting them on a good or rocky path. Kindness and encouragement can make the most significant difference in a child’s life.
Self-Love and Relationships
I grew up in a food-conscious home. My mother, a professional nutritionist, preached about health and positivity, about what we consume and how it affects our bodies. She taught us about balance and taking care of ourselves physically and mentally.
My father had no professional nutrition knowledge, but he made it his personal goal to ensure I was “healthy.” In theory, there should be no harm in this, but how the situation is approached— the words and temperament make all the difference in a good or bad outcome.
For example, I remember asking for a second piece of pizza at dinner one evening. But instead of the positive approach of, “Yes, but only if you’re still hungry after you finish your vegetables,” my father’s words were demeaning and embarrassing, saying if I continued to eat like this, I would gain a lot of weight. He may have thought he was saying this out of love, but his approach and ultimate point were wrong. Those few words set me on a path of self-consciousness, negatively affecting how I lived my middle and high school years.
Berkner High School counselor Eboni Simmons said that it is not the point you are making but how you’re going about it. “It’s important to approach issues with compassion, empathy, regulation, and stability,” Simmons said. “Kids are humans and react best when we treat them like it.”
Regulation and Balance
Regulation is vital in any circumstance, and it’s up to parents to teach their children how to manage things in their lives. Being too heavily sheltered can lead to boundary-testing or fear of something new, and being too unsupervised can lead to a complete ignorance of consequences and an unrealistic view of how the world works.
There must be a middle ground to have a healthy relationship with your kids so they will have a healthy relationship with themselves as they grow up.
Parent’s guidance can be tough but also compassionate. Introduce your children to balance so they don’t topple in one direction or another. It’s essential to teach them dedication, perseverance, and responsibility. But it is also important to teach them to enjoy these times while they are young.
Cydney Bobo is a student at Berkner High School in Richardson, Texas. She works on the school newspaper and enjoys creative writing and reading in her free time. She is interested in being a journalism major in college.