You want one of these new and improved “Normal Childhoods“..are you sure?
So I’m sure like me, most of you have seen the video of that little Romanian kid that’s ripped and does crazy feats of strength. In one YouTube video I watched of him, the viewer’s left over 9000 comments, the majority saying that this is child abuse and how lifting heavy weights at his age will cause issues as he grows…perhaps this is all true, maybe the kids parents are using this kid for their own financial gain by exploiting him and making him push his body beyond his young limits simply for the attention and monetary gain it is getting.
I have mixed feelings about this, on one hand I see this kid exercising and pushing his limits and just being a freakish little rock star and on the other I look at his age and think ‘Too much Too soon” so I think my personal comfort level for kids fitness lies somewhere in the middle. I can go on YouTube and find hundreds of videos of American kids, and the great majority of them appear to be unhealthy and overweight. Sadly I think Americans are FAT compared to most countries citizenry, we are the land of excess, we Super-Size our portions and consume more sugar than anyone else….Woo Hoo ‘Merica !!
Now when I see an overweight kid, unless the kid has some sort of medical condition, I generally blame the parents, and in most cases the parents are also overweight and unhealthy. Parents are the role models for their kids…plain and simple!
As a Parent, do you feel you set the right example for your kids? Do you promote physical activity for them and yourself? How about the meals you eat, are they healthy? Do you drink nothing but soda?
Now I myself am in no way a complete health nut, I believe you should eat healthy but you don’t have to follow a strict calorie counting program as long as you exercise and try to make good choices.
Okay so getting back to kids and fitness, now everyone wants their kids to experience a “Normal Childhood” right? And these days that means video games, television, and yes eating crappy fast food now and again. I know things have changed since I was a kid, we didn’t have video games or they were just coming out and my normal childhood was being outside playing with friends until the street lights came on then it was time to go home. And we all played sports, we were active. Always.
Our bodies are designed for movement, so we need to move, jump, and run. This activity strengthens our bodies and helps us grow and be healthy. And it also helps reduce illness and health issues later in life.
Now going back to that video of the little Romanian super kid, if you think that’s child abuse, do you also feel that planting your kid in front of a video game console for 5-6 hours a day, fueled by fast food and soda is just as abusive?
Could it be possible that the kid in that video just thoroughly enjoys the activities that he is doing? And that there is real desire behind them? I know when I was his age I loved soccer, I played it all the time, I didn’t need any encouragement whatsoever to go run around for hours, practicing ball handling skills, every single day I practiced. It was an obsession, I was immersed in anything and everything surrounding the sport. (At the time I lived in Florida, soccer is huge there) So was I abused because my parents bought me the necessary equipment to participate and drove me to the games, and were my biggest fans?
I will agree that impressionable children shouldn’t be forced to participate in activities that they don’t have any interest in or activities that could do them damage of some sort. (Like bare knuckle brawling at age 9) I also don’t like parents trying to live their lost dreams through their kids either, but I honestly have no problem in properly coaching a child in an activity that they have genuine interest in.
There are so many great physical activities that your kids could be doing, get them involved in sports, let them choose what sport so that it’s something they will enjoy doing but get them involved, the younger the better. And as a Parent get active with your kids, go play catch, go for a hike, there are great programs you can do as a family. You would do anything to protect your child right? Well looking out for their health is your job and responsibility when they are young, so make sure you’re doing your job.
What I am wondering about, and one of the reasons I wanted to write this article is…When did a “Normal Childhood” go from playing, running, skipping and being active to sitting in front of some type of electronic equipment and when did encouraging and enabling physical activity become a form of abuse?