As much as we love to pride ourselves on our individuality, we are also humans who admire and follow the example of others. Who admires someone else the most? Our kids! Our kids idolize us and they follow our lead. What they see is what they believe is right and normal. How can we influence their future health and safety? By being a positive example!
Monkey See Monkey Do
Childhood experiences directly affect the adult lives of those children. For good or bad, behaviors children observe have a direct effect on adulthood. What if children observe their parents putting on their seatbelt, wearing their helmet on a bike ride, or looking both ways before they cross the street? If we do it, they do it. By demonstrating the behavior as our norm, they will emulate the behavior as their norm. You won’t have to tell them to do it, they just will. In contrast, consider violence in the home. Conversely, in this scenario, our behavior has a detrimental effect on our children. When a parent is the victim of violence in the home, children are affected. Whether violence is visually observed, overheard, or the aftermath witnessed, children suffer the effects well past the event into adulthood. The effects of trauma are cumulative. The more traumatic events that occur, the higher the likelihood for behavior problems, substance abuse disorders, and relationship problems.
Be the Change
Injury is the leading cause of death for Americans 1-44 years of age, (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2018.) Montana is no different. With limitless outdoor recreation opportunities and wide-open spaces resulting in long travel from one place to the next, the potential for injury is high. Unintentional injuries are preventable in most instances. If not preventable, at least the severity can be diminished with simple interventions. Protect yourself by taking the time to put on your seatbelt every time you get in the car. Put your helmet on every time you ride your bike. The return on investment is your safety and the safety of your child. While the benefits may be invisible, the consequences of not are potentially unfathomable.
Demonstrate your strength to your child by seeking help if you’re experiencing domestic violence. Helping yourself will in turn help your child. Our community is rich in resources to assist families suffering the consequences of domestic violence. One call to 211 can link you to resources that will ensure your safety and reduce the impact on your child(ren). Show your child that violence is not the norm, that loving yourself is. The benefits of self-love will last a lifetime and prevent them from being victims themselves or from being abusive to others.
Be the handwashing for injury in your family.
For more information on safety and violence, click here.