FatherhoodHealth

4 Reasons to Encourage Your Children to Live a Straight Edge Lifestyle

Temptation is everywhere, and when your teenager wants to fit in, it can be hard to shield them from the world around them. Peer pressure happens to all of us and, contrary to popular belief, does not end during our teenage years. Therefore, encouraging your children to live a straight-edge lifestyle while they’re still young means setting an excellent foundation for the rest of their lives.

1. Remember You Can’t Protect Your Child Forever

Let’s face it, if we could wrap our children in bubble wrap and shield them from the world, we would. But that’s not how life works, and, at some point, your child will be making decisions that have serious consequences without you guiding them. They might not want to do something but feel pressured; sometimes, those moments are definitive.

2. Start Small

These things start small. While straight-edge means avoiding things such as drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, it should also incorporate a healthy lifestyle. We all know how difficult it can be to get kids to eat healthily, but it’s something they need to learn young.

It’s recommended for kids grades K-5 to eat at least one cup of fruit and vegetables a day. They won’t always be excited about it, but building the habit early and teaching them that it is the best thing for their body will only benefit them.

3. Teach Discipline Over Temptation

When they get older, they’ll be exposed to alcohol and drugs. It’s inevitable, and although you’ve probably agonized over ways to avoid it, you can only prepare them. Smoking a cigarette is appealing when the ‘cool kids’ are doing it, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have serious consequences. After all, if you’ve already instilled in them the importance of heart health, they’re more likely to think twice before picking up such a dangerous habit.

It’s easy to worry about your child one day becoming intoxicated. No matter the substance, it lowers inhibitions and can lead to problematic decision-making. For example, many teens might have a beer or two and think driving is okay. However, there are serious fines and potential jail time associated with the move. In somewhere like Colorado, generally first-time DUI offenders need to pay between $600 and $1,000, money they probably don’t have.

Encourage hobbies and activities that will pull your child away from temptation. If they have a swim meet early the following day, suddenly spending all night partying is less appealing. They will also make a like-minded group of friends that have the same attitudes as them.

Many extracurricular activities or sports require a high level of discipline. Is your child a natural performer? If they ever want to become professionals, they must learn singing, dancing, and acting. While it’s an involved process, devoting their time to their passion will enhance their overall development and give them a goal to work towards.

4. Maintain Open Communication

Encourage open communication between you and your children. When they’re young, they tell you everything they’re thinking, but as they get older, they become more filtered. No matter what, they should always feel that they can come to you for guidance or support.

Putting these things in place is especially crucial, as you don’t know what life will throw at them or your family. You and your partner might be in a loving relationship, but life changes over time, and it’s hard to predict what will be thrown your way. The actual percentage of marriages that end in divorce in the U.S. varies between 40% and 50%.

You can’t protect your children forever, and doing so would only be holding them back. Instill the necessity in them at a young age to prioritize their health, well-being, and future. That way, no matter what life throws at them, they have a solid foundation to make good decisions.