Bad Habits Die Young

by Nikky Manausa on January 12, 2010


We all have them, the good, the bad, the secrets. Habits can be very healthy.  They provide us with comfort and routine to get through our day.  They often give us something to look forward to and can improve our quality of life. But when is it that our inability to consciously control our actions becomes dangerous? What habits do you share as a family?  What habits do you pass down to your children? When do habits cross the line and become addictions?

Is it an Addiction?

Like much of the world, I’m addicted to coffee. Every morning I wake up  and immediately start the coffee pot. (I seriously should consider getting an automatic brew!)  It doesn’t matter how many times I hit the snooze, how much sleep I had the night before, or how late I sleep in, I need to sip that sensual warm sunshine to get my day rolling.  This habit, uh, addiction does not cause me or my family any harm.  In fact, many studies have found that coffee is actually good for me!

How about dessert? You tell me, is it a bad habit or an addiction for my family.  It all started when I was pregnant with my first born.  My heartburn was killer, and I “needed” something to sooth the burn, literally.  Naturally, cookie dough ice-cream always did it.  Misery loves company, and I somehow felt less guilty when my husband would indulge with me. It was fun gaining weight together! 

I delivered my sweet baby girl and miraculously the heartburn was gone, but our cravings were not, nor the added weight.  Three and a half years later, my husband, who has now eaten for three for 18 months, has dessert every night.  Guess who else is always requesting dessert, too?  The kids of course!  Again, bad habit or an addiction? It may not be dangerous… for now.

Monkey See Monkey Do

A central theme you will notice is I believe our children learn directly from our actions.  “Do as I say, not as I do” is useless for most of us, and certainly never applies to children.  If you do not want your kids to do it, then don’t do it in front of them! Period.  If you want them to adapt a healthy life style, then show them exactly what that means.  Take them to the gym with you, have them ride their bike while you walk or jog, show them how to dip their fork in the salad dressing first instead of drowning their lettuce in it, opt for grilled chicken and not fried. Remember, in your child’s eyes, you can do no wrong.  Trust me, I hear all about you in my classroom every day!

Bad Habits Die Young

There are a million articles about how to end a bad habit.  This entry is not intended to be the million-and-one article.  That’s what Google is for! 

Do visit your family’s habits and addictions. Focus on your strengths as a family and as individuals. Determine what you want to change and commit to it, one habit at a time. Do so by replacing your addiction with a healthy habit. 

Whatever you do, make the changes, together, as a family. Good habits live long!

Our family enjoying Daddy Bo’s fishing addiction.

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