“Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.” Do we Americans really believe that? Does our culture say slow down and stop consuming so much? Do we hear everything in moderation? What example do we set for our children?
I am sure every mom has a picture just like the one of my littlest shoving the first cake in his mouth covered with frosting. It’s adorable and I don’t think many people would say that’s the wrong thing to do. However, when things go one extreme or the other it is noticeable. When someone drinks too much he/she gets drunk. When someone exercises too little they become overweight. When we go out to eat and the serving portions are entirely too large we over eat and feel horrible afterwards. When we diet we deny ourselves every sweet thing possible. There must be a happy median somewhere in the mix.
I have tried to teach my children that too much or too little of anything is not healthy. They always ask “Too many fruits and vegetables is not healthy?” To which I reply, “You need to have protein and grains to balance your body.” “Too much exercise is not good?” “Exercising is very good daily but if that’s all you do then the other things your suppose to do like homework, playing with friends and eating are missing.”
So how do we do it? Wow, if I had that answer I might actually have someone want to publish a book. I try to not overdue. That’s not to say that I don’t. I never need the 2nd helping of ice cream or to taste the McDonald’s fries, I want to do it. It is not good either to totally deny yourself because then you build resentment and anger. So the best thing to do would be to have 1 helping of ice cream and stop at a few fries. I think that comes with self discipline. How do we learn self discipline? I believe we learn it from our parents as children and from our schools. Our parents discipline us and set rules as well as the teachers. We become accustom to living within the rules then it is easier to live within our own “rules”.
If we want our children to truly live in moderation we must teach them early in life. First thing to teach them is that they cannot have everything that they want. If a child is spoiled rotten then they have the “I get anything I want when I want it so I must deserve it complex”- otherwise known to me as the “entitlement complex”. Then I believe they will overindulge forever. If we as parents can limit treats, toys and special gifts so they can be appreciated when they get them we are doing our children a great service for their future. We need to teach our children responsibility, which means they are responsible for their homework and chores and they have consequences when these things are not completed. Instead of doing the project for them, we need to let our children do their own projects and do the best they can so they can learn what is expected of them. We need to let our children take the responsibility and stop sheltering them from the reality of consequences. Until they learn that each action has a reaction they will not understand reality.
These practices I propose are not so easy. It is much easier to just give your child the candy in the checkout line than to hear the begging than to say “It’s not your birthday, Christmas or any special time when you should get the candy” which is what I say all the time. He/She may cry but eventually he/she will learn not to ask or to cry. Our children are completely able to learn new lessons. It is not easy to let your child get in trouble because they forgot their homework but if they don’t learn this lesson they will have no reason to remember their homework.
Parenting is not easy and not always fun. Parenting is a responsibility. We are responsible for raising our children to be responsible, conscientious, good citizens and caring adults. It’s true what we do as parents will affect them for a lifetime. So we need to teach our children. As parents we sign on for the long haul good or bad, easy or difficult. Part of parenting is praying to God to help you do what you believe is right for your children. So keep on praying and practicing what you believe is right for your children. Teach them moderation in all things because “Too much of a good thing can be bad”.