Your newborn’s unmarked skin, its perfect smile, the innocent sounds meant just for you. You commit to protect your child’s well-being. But how well can you?
Much of your baby’s health isn’t programmed in its genes but will be determined by outside influences. So you tell yourself that you will set an example by showing how to eat right, exercise, not smoke or abuse drugs.
But as your child grows, how successful will you be against the challenges your adolescent will feel from peers, social media, advertising, and the constant engagement with electronic devices? And what if you fail?
One out of every three children will develop diabetes during their lifetime because of being overweight or obese. And the chance of being overweight among 12 to 19 year-olds has tripled in the past 20 years.
Here are some additional federal government’s statistics: Nearly 30 percent of Americans are considered completely sedentary, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of any physical activity, which negatively affects their health and how long they will live.
But self-esteem along with adult guidance, can effectively take on peer pressure.
So how can you help build your youngsters’ self-esteem, early on, before they will be challenged? Not all youth will be good-looking, good students, strong athletes, have winning personalities, and know how to dress well. Low self-esteem creates awkwardness and discomfort–and many youth as well as adults–escape these feelings by eating excessively or distancing themselves from others or take drugs.
Yet every youngster can excel at one activity that research shows does increase self-esteem: helping others.
The thank-you’s, hugs, smiles, and handshakes received from the individual they’ve helped send a message to the young helper: “People like you, they need you, and you can have a positive affect on people. You play an important role in their lives”
In my book, “The Healing Power of Doing Good”, I created the term “helpers high,” which is used internationally to describe the strong, uplifting feelings experienced by those who help others on a regular basis (about 100 hours a year) and have personal contact with those they help. The majority of these volunteers–of all ages–report feelings of increased self-esteem.
The big challenge for youth to volunteer is getting started. Because it’s doing something different, most youngsters feel uncomfortable at first and are not driven to volunteerism.
But that brings up the commitment you made to your newborn. Parents say they can’t think of activities for the entire family to participate in. However, volunteering is one you can do together and boost everyone’s self-esteem.
Family volunteering is a way to fight threats to your childrens’ health. Become part of “The Healing Power of Doing Good.”
If you’ve seen how volunteering can help the self-esteem of youth, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.