Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

This blog has been retired.


The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Modeling Good Behavior

Martha Nelson, PA-c is a physician’s assistant with the Healthy Lifestyles Program at Duke University. The program focuses on empowering kids and families with the skills and knowledge needed to live a life of healthy eating and active lifestyles.

Consider this: The mother of an 11-year-old girl tells me, “I’ve tried everything. She won’t eat breakfast, she won’t stop drinking Mountain Dew, and she won’t touch a vegetable with a 10 foot pole! TV? I don’t even want to talk about it. I’ve tried everything. I’ve nagged until I’m blue in the face; I’ve offered to pay her for every vegetable she eats. I’ve hidden my Mountain Dew. I’ve disconnected the cable TV in her room. Nothing is working!”

I gently ask Mom questions along the lines of: Tell me what you typically eat for breakfast. How many vegetables do you eat daily? What do you like to do for exercise?

Her reply: “This is not about me. This is about my daughter! I’ll worry about my health once we get her on track.”

Kids these days…sabotaging good health by drinking sweet drinks, staying up too late, not eating vegetables, snacking on junk food, plopping down in front of the TV or computer every time they have a free moment. How in the world can we MAKE them take better care of themselves?

They often laugh when you “lay down the law”. Nagging, harsh words, and punishment only seem to bring resentment. Bribing/reward systems work for a little while, but the novelty wears off quickly.

One of the most effective parenting strategies honors a concept that can be summed up in one short sentence: Children do what they SEE their parents do, not what they hear their parents SAY to do.

If you want them to do something, let them see you doing it! Every day! Those little rascals are watching us. When we take time out to exercise, they notice. When we choose to sit at the table and eat with them, they notice. When we eat vegetables and drink water, they notice. When we turn the TV off and close the laptop (or put the smart phone away), they notice. When we make time for breakfast, they notice.  We don’t have to yell and nag. We have to BE a good example. Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, this strategy will work. And, of course, you’ll be healthier for it as well!

Posted by: WebMD Blogs at 10:53 am

Subscribe & Stay Informed

Parenting and Children's Health

Get the Parenting & Children's Health newsletter and get useful parenting tips and health news you need to keep your little ones happy & healthy.


WebMD Health News