Monday, 9 July 2012

Toxic Childhood..... Detoxing Childhood Part 2......

What Children Need For Healthy Development On The Fingers Of One Hand
Photo credit- Sue Palmer

Picking up from last weeks post, in which I introduced Sue Palmer's idea of 'Toxic childhood', I will be digging deeper into 'Detoxing Parenting'.

The image above was created by Sue to demonstrate what a child needs to grow up and develop healthily. In order to achieve this you need to think about your parenting style and the way yo choose to interact with your child.

On Sue's website she has a great video explaining how to meet all five points!

Take a look- Five Finger Exercise

So we all know our kids need good, healthy food, a good nights sleep in a warm and safe environment and to be communicated with by others.

And yet the biggest issues relating to poor parenting are poor diet leading to obesity, children suffering with sleep deprivation and children with poor social skills. How is this happening?????

Is it because life seems to busy it's quicker to pick up a takeaway than to cook? Is it the price of fresh food causing parents to choose a cheaper less nutritious option? If so, how do we overcome this? I'm not convinced all of the thousand of 'parenting' manuals out there are the answer.

 At the end of the day we all know that certain foods are unhealthy, so if we choose to feed them to our children they won't be getting the most nutritious options. We don't need a 'parenting' strategy to deal with this.

We just need to take a long hard look at the choices we are making and decide if they are the absolute best choices for our child. Does it have to be a takeaway everyday, can one day be 'veg' and 'fruit' day? As parents we make the choices.

Same goes for forming healthy sleep habits. As adults we can choose to go to bed late, knowing we will feel tired and grumpy the next day. Our focus will be off, we won't be able to concentrate and our ability to retain information will be severely limited. Children suffer in the same way when they are sleep deprived. If we allow them to go to bed late, by not setting boundaries and bedtimes, we know they will feel this way the next day.

Again it is about our choice as a parent, not about a 'parenting' strategy or intervention.

'What about my child who just won't sleep?' I hear you cry! The answer is simple. It's about a choice you made somewhere along the line. Maybe you chose not to instil the importance of a bedtime routine when your child was younger, maybe you chose to allow your child to stay up until they fall asleep on the sofa and now that's become the norm, maybe you chose not to put your child back to bed every time they came downstairs. Whatever the 'maybe' you chose the outcome!

However, the problem arises when parents choose to make the 'wrong' (socially perceived as wrong not my  personal opinion of wrong!) decisions. How do we tackle this?

Better  parenting information to new, young parents?  Parenting classes for teenagers as part of a 'lifeskills' course?

But can you force people to make certain choices? It's safe to say most humans know what the basic needs of another human are. After all they are their own basic needs! But if people choose not to meet them, what then????????????

Sue's book 'Detoxing Childhood' does have sections outlining the need for healthy food, good nights sleep etc and has, in my opinion, good strategies for ensuring these things happen. But I'm still overwhelmed by the simple fact some parents choose not to meet these needs....................................................

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