Common pitfalls in parenting grade-schoolers — and how to avoid these mistakes.
Parenting can be a wild ride, and each age and stage has its own set of challenges and rewards.
Parents of kids or tweens in elementary school certainly have their jobs cut out for them as they try to encourage healthy living and a positive self-image in their children. Throw in the first signs of puberty and some social and emotional bumps along the way, and it is simple to see that some mistakes are possible, if not inevitable.
Kids don’t come with an instruction manual, so how do you know if you are making a huge mistake with your grade-school kids? Here are the top mistakes that parents of grade-schoolers make and how to avoid them.
1. Denying That Your Kid Is Overwight
When dealing with an overweight or obese child, “many parents state he or she will grow out of it,” states Joyce Lee, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Parents may state she is just big-boned or has a different body type.”
But this is a huge mistake, Lee says. Yes, there are a lot of physical changes that occur during the grade-school years, including puberty, but a lot of kids don’t grow out of it. ”Never be complacent,” she says. “Now is the time to introduce and encourage physical activity and healthy eating. Good habits begin young, and so do bad ones.”
Many parents think high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are older people’s health problems. Not anymore.
Because of the skyrocketing rates of childhood obesity, conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes are now showing up in kids. “There is greater awareness of the problem of childhood obesity, but at the same time many parents may not realize that grade-schoolers are not too young to develop some of the complications associated with obesity,” Lee says.
If your child is overweight, watch your words. Don’t dwell on size and do not shame the child.
“It is never about a number on a scale or how you look, it’s about health,” Mackey says.
Beth Volin, MD, the head of the pediatric primary care clinic at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, agrees. “This is an age where preteens become very body-conscious and there is a lot of stuff in the media about being super thin,” Volin says. “It’s not uncommon for pediatricians to begin to see eating disorders in kids in fifth and six grades.”
Don’t single out the child, either. “Say, ‘We want this whole family to be healthy so we are all going to try to eat better and be more active,’” states Eleanor Mackey, PhD, a child psychologist at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
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Submited at Friday, October 19th, 2012 at 4:15 pm on Uncategorized by Gillan
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