As a family, you share a lot of things, including both physical and emotional health. One researcher, Dr. Steve Ponder, is stating that the healthier parents were in terms of emotional health as children, the healthier their family will be when they create their family units as adults. Sadly, in his post, Dr. Ponder states that as many as 6 out of 10 adults admit to having experienced both physical and emotional abuse as children.
These parents, while able to recognize the damage done to them, may inadvertently create an unhealthy environment for their children, in an emotional sense. In turn, poor emotional health, coupled with stress, turns into poor physical health – something that Ponder believes turns into ‘chronic disease management’ in the long-term.
Ponder suggest that for families to become healthier, they need to change their focus. What does he mean by this? Consider his quote:
Good things would result immediately from greater attention to the seemingly more mundane needs of our chronically ill children, than from creating more expensive and complex new therapies. One of my greatest secret weapons against diabetes is my social worker; a professional who identifies many of these life problems and offers reasonable and affordable solutions to remedy some of them. But as a doctor, the awareness of these problems allows me the opportunity to shape a diabetes treatment plan that takes the shaky family situation into consideration. Did it work? I only can say at my most recent place of employment, we had one of the lowest rates of uncontrolled diabetes in the United States.
Ponder makes a good point. Society has gotten so that instead of addressing a person, doctors are often treating a disease and forget that behind whatever diagnosis they dish out, there is a real, living person with emotions and feelings. By taking a different look at things, considering where the person is coming from, they may be able to tap into the real reason someone is manifesting certain chronic disease symptoms. What do you think? How do you feel your family fares in terms of being healthy? What about when you visit your doctor or take your child in for a check-up? Are you being treated as a person or a label?
Some suggestions for building a healthier family unit today include:
- Create time for each other. Quality time cannot be replaced with material possessions. Children thrive on the attention they receive from loved ones, not from new toys and gadgets.
- Spend time as a family, not just as the dinner table. Sharing a meal together is a priceless event. But take this quality time away from the dinner time and find activities you can share with each other. These are where your happy memories will be created!
- Listen when you ask a question of a loved one. Don’t just ask someone a question and then walk away. Take the time to really listen to the person’s response. You would be surprised what they want to share with you – especially with children.
Which of these steps are you taking? What changes do you need to make to make sure your family and loved ones are healthy?