We can’t choose our parents, their occupations or their wealth. We also don’t have a say on their way of life or behaviour. However, what is definitely within our choice is what type of parents we can be for our own children.
That’s why it’s best to put away certain lifestyle choices that would not only affect your own health, but the health of your adolescent children too. We got a Malaysian doctor to shed some light on this and he shared some of the lifestyle choices parents make that are harming their children’s health.
1. Not vaccinating their children
This has got to be the most appalling lifestyle choice one can make as a parent anywhere in the world, let alone in Malaysia. Recently, there was almost a 1,000 per cent increase in the number of measles cases in our country compared to just five years ago. Crazy!
Dr Khiddir, a medical practitioner based in Kuala Selangor shared his thoughts with us about the matter.
“Misinformation on vaccines are irresponsible actions by anti-vaxxers who unfortunately have a growing influence in our local communities.”
He further relates this to how vaccine-preventable diseases are posing a threat to our children’s health and fear the worst if the trend continues as it will not only affect the anti-vaxxers’ children but also other kids that mingle with them.
“If this vaccine rejection trend continues, there is a likelihood that infectious diseases that could be prevented by vaccines will continue to increase and all efforts by the MOH will be futile.”
So, please always seek advice from qualified and highly trained medical professionals and stop blindly believing whatever the internet has to say.
2. Bringing their children out late at night
A crowded, noisy place is not where a toddler should be way past their bedtime! Worse, there are even Malaysian parents who bring their young children for a night out.
Dr Khiddir shares why this behaviour is dangerous:
- It exposes children to secondhand smoke and its hazardous effects.
- A crowded place exposes children to infectious diseases, which their young immune system can’t handle!
- It sets a bad precedent for them growing up as they will find going out late at night as something normal.
- It will disturb their sleep schedule and affect their health and ability to make good choices.
Speaking of good choices, please make the right choice dear Malaysian parents and let your children have the amount of sleep they require!
3. Letting their children be addicted to smartphones and tablets
This is by far the most common habit on this list and you can practically see it happening everywhere! The negative effects of this practice are:
- It’s a health hazard. A 2008 study found that children who used cell phones extensively experienced more sleep disruption, restlessness and fatigue.
- It affects their academic performance. Time spent on homework is reduced, exam results suffer due to poor preparation or fatigue from using their smartphone.
- They are exposed to inappropriate content. Even with parental control turned on on these devices, the chances of inappropriate content being snuck in are still high!
Understandably, this behaviour really grinds Dr Khiddir’s gears and he laments on the psychological effect this has on children.
“Lazy parenting such as this where they use smartphones as a substitute to their presence will embed pessimistic and anti-social behaviours on them as well as an underdeveloped creativity.”
4. Not prioritising a healthy diet for their children
One Malaysian practice that needs to be changed according to Dr Khiddir is the culture of rewarding small children with candies and snacks. This increases the risk of diabetes mellitus type 1 and also sets up a bad precedent for their behaviour in the future.
Giving your children a healthy balanced diet will ensure that they are getting all the essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that children need for healthy growth and development. With the statistical rise in obesity in our children, this is more important than ever.
Besides that, one medical condition that most Malaysians always make light of is constipation. Did you know that long-term constipation has links to cancer, especially in children?
Dr Khiddir is wary because most of his patients seem to take constipation lightly, especially parents of infants who think that constipation is just a common occurrence for their child.
“Many do not know that long-term constipation could lead to declining academic performance in children, and worse, potential links to colon cancer!”
So you better be alert when your child is having a hard time going to the loo!
Looking back at all the lifestyle choices mentioned by Dr Khiddir, it’s hard not to feel somewhat distraught at how children are put at harm just because of the improper choices their parents make.
Always remember, the choices we make today will determine the course of their future! We hope the insights from Dr Khiddir has inspired you to become a better parent when the time comes!
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