Their health is impaired by diet, lack of exercise, environmental toxins, and stress. They are subject to bullies in school, negative influences in the media, and they are pressured to grow up too fast. Given all of these impacts, discuss the factors that lead to raising healthy children. What would you do to raise your children to be well-adjusted physically and emotionally?
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In addition to the ideas discussed above, there is an argument to be made for arts instruction as part of well-rounded human development. Cultures have long honored the arts as an arena for the expression of human truth, insights, etc.
Teaching arts to students as part of their education and upbringing can help young people to explore the worlds of fine art and literature and also help students explore and express the complexities of their own inner life.
Beyond the basic physical needs that a person needs to survive, I think the most important think a parent can do to ensure the psychological well being of their child is to show them love and give them attention. Life is so full of problems and tasks that need to be accomplished that many kids simply don't get the attention they need to develop a proper sense of belonging. I'm not saying that a parent should stop working to give their child attention, but the simple fact is that today's parents are much busier today than in years past and kids aren't getting the same amount of quality time with their parents.
In addition to all the necessities of life, there are a myriad of distractions that continue to take the focus away from children. Hundreds of cable television channels, Internet sites, social media, and smart phones continue to steal precious time away from our children. As a teacher, one of the biggest problems I see in my students is a need for belonging, and I think a big part of that stems from a lack of attention at home.
Well adjusted children are frequently the product of well adjusted adults. Parents should first and foremost set an example that models a well balanced life. Teaching children how to make good choices, and then giving them enough independence that they can learn how to make good choices while the consequences of choices is not life changing is a good idea. Helping children learn, develop, and use empathy for others is essential. Balance and adjustment related directly to personal philosophy, so teaching children how to find the positive in any situation is important also.
Raising children was never easy. We overestimate how idyllic the past was and underestimate how good our children have it today.
Good parenting is the same now as it ever was, I think. We have to model good behaviors for our children. We have to set limits on what they are allowed to do so that we can prevent them from being overwhelmed with choices. We need to, at the same time, allow them the independence that they need so that they will become responsible. In other words, we need to walk a line between letting them do whatever they want and not giving them any choices.
Of course it’s hard. But it’s always been hard and it always will be hard.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is useful when thinking about raising children - starting with physical safety, adequate nourishment and sleep, and enough environmental predictability to limit undue anxiety and stress, which can have physical effects on a child's development. Even more basic is the attachment to a stable, loving caregiver (typically a parent) who can provide the child with a secure base from which to explore the world. Children learn about themselves, their culture, and their world through relationships with their caregivers, then expand to include peers, teachers, extended family, and community. Well adjusted children can depend on individuals in their family and community. Children from unstable or difficult backgrounds can still be well-adjusted if they have at least two strong mentor relationships with caring adults.
As the child matures, s/he discovers what natural aptitudes and talents s/he has, but also that being good at anything requires hard work and practice. Children who believe that natural talents alone guide them through life's challenges give up more easily when challenged, since their belief is that they are either smart enough or not. Whereas if children are taught that effort and persistence pays off, they have the resilience and grit necessary to persevere. Children should also be exposed to acceptable levels of disappointment and even failure, but not overwhelming amounts. A child who consistently fails becomes demoralized and angry.
Young children observe and model behavior of others. This is why it is important to teach them through actions more than words. To simply tell the kids to eat their vegetables and exercise is not doing them any justice. By raising them in a healthy lifestyle that all members of the household follow, the message leaves a deeper impression. Though reminding the children every day that we love them is extremely important, showing them is even more so. The messages that we give our children need to be shown through example. To be healthy emotionally and physically, parents must be the type of person that they want their children to be.
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