Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis
If you want to raise a kind, confident child, you may want to look in the mirror first. At least, that's according to Sid Garza-Hillman, nutritionist and author of Raising Healthy Parents, who argues that modern-day parents tend to place too much emphasis on their children at the expense of their own self-care.
"We raise kind, confident children when we do the work to make ourselves more kind and confident," he writes over on MindBodyGreen. "Even though the job of parenting is to teach and instruct our children, parents too often are so child-focused that their own health and happiness get put on the back burner. We are overstressed, overtired, undernourished, anxious, and afraid for our children's safety, and the thought of making our own health and happiness a priority is, well, simply not a priority. And yet, it must be."
This all boils down to leading by example and setting ourselves up to be good parents in the first place. "How we feed and move our bodies, how we communicate with other adults and friends, whether we take ample time to pursue the things that we enjoy, and whether we value our own happiness enable us to be more effective parents and show our children that taking care of ourselves is possible no matter how busy we are," he explains.
In other words, we can't hope to apply the advice espoused in even the best parenting books and websites if we're not in a positive place in our own lives first. While obviously, no parent or person is perfect, Garza-Hillman believes that mothers and fathers shouldn't feel guilty about prioritizing their own-self care, if not for themselves then for their families.