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Perfect Environments for Kids

Would you feed your 16 month old baby a cup of coffee every morning?

  • Would you place your 6 month old infant in front of the television news several hours a day?
  • Would you allow your kid to act up so much and so often in Sunday school that the program director can’t keep the teacher position filled?
  • Would you allow your teenage daughters to go before the principal 12 times a year without a family intervention?
  • Would you let your teenage son drink and drive without any consequences?

These are all real life examples I’ve witnessed or heard about in the past two weeks. I know that kids today are different. I hear that frequently. I think they’re different because they’re being raised in a different environment. Raising kids is a huge challenge and parents need help and support. What are the environments that surround us all?

If you’ve been a member of this club for long, you know that the articles are about how our lifestyles and health habits are shaped by our environments (e.g., our families, messages from the media, fast food restaurants, television as a spectator sport, computers, politics, our culture, our thoughts, our homes, our cars – in short everything we come into contact with). Our habits are continually being shaped – good and bad. They’re shaped from the time of our birth when the world surrounds us like the fluid in the womb.

If We Don’t Design Our Environments, They Will Be Designed For Us

Here’s a short list of negative environments kids are exposed to on a regular basis:

  • sedentary families glues to TV, computers, electronic games
  • violent news and other television broadcasts
  • fast food and junk food (it’s everywhere, it’s convenient, it’s what everybody eats)
  • soda, junk food, and fast food in school cafeterias and vending machines
  • consumerism – we’re all confronted with thousands of sales messages every week
  • peer pressure in schools to wear expensive designer clothes and shoes

Here’s a short list of positive environments kids are exposed to on a regular basis:

  • families who play physical games with their kids in the yard
  • families who monitor the kinds of and amount of TV their kids view
  • families who eat meals together and talk about the day’s events
  • families who pack healthy, enjoyable lunches for their kids with occasional fast food lunches
  • families who educate their kids about spending and saving and who limit their credit card debt to what they can afford
  • families who teach their kids about peer pressure and encourage them to be independent thinkers as much as possible

Comments Please

I’d like to hear what you think about this topic. What negative environments do you think kids and families are being exposed to today? What kinds of positive environments can parents and grand parents create for their kids and grand kids? What as a society can we do to help support parents in raising their kids?

To comment, just go to the link for "comments" at the end of this post and let us know what you think.

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