By LeAnn Thieman. This was originally published on LeAnn's blog.
At first, I thought my message, “We are always role modeling whether we want to be or not,” was for parents, but now I know it is for everyone, because indeed, we are all always role modeling.
No matter how old you are, those younger than you are watching to see what you do and say, then they decide their behavior. This includes not only our children, but candy-stripers, patients, visitors, staff members.
Much is written today about obesity and inadequate physical activity in the younger generation. There is a lot of-finger pointing to the supposed blame…fast food, TV, computers, lack of exercise, video games, changes in society’s values.
One that doesn’t get as much press is the importance of role modeling.
We’ve likely all heard, “Do as I say, not as I do.” But they do as we do.
Studies consistently show that parents are the most important role models for their children. Peers and media have less influence. Children are constantly observing their parents’ values and how they handle their lives.
A Stanford University School of Medicine study found that 64% of children with overweight parents became overweight, compared to 16% of those with normal weight parents. Genetics was a factor, but environment, food types and amounts, and exercise that kids observed were significant factors.
When children see their parents and other grownups actively involved in physical activity, sports, and exercise, they likely adopt those values and behaviors too.
What are you role-modeling to those younger than you?
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