Tia Mowry on Keeping Her Son Healthy & Teaching Him to Embrace His Differences

Tia Mowry

We've long been a fan of actress and author Tia Mowry's outspoken and refreshing stance on everything from body image to online bullying, so it was a treat to chat with her recently about a subject near and dear to her heart: being a mom.

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Tia recently partnered up with the "Mom 'Nose' Best" campaign to share her tips for keeping families healthy, and to spread the word about FluMist Quadrivalent, the first and only needle-free nasal-spray flu vaccine for people ages 2 to 49. We chatted with the host of the Cooking Channel's Tia Mowry at Home about everything from the diet changes she made to battle her infertility issues, to how she handles her son's bullies, and the importance of diversity in kids' entertainment.

Tia Mowry and her son

The Stir: Why is flu prevention an important issue for you?

TM: My responsibility as a mom is to make sure my family is healthy, my child stays healthy, and that they are protected, and the best way to do that is to get vaccinated. A lot of people think flu is just like the common cold, but it can cause complications, especially with young kids -- they could need to be hospitalized, they can get really, really sick.

The Stir: Which one of your tips for staying healthy do you think is something that moms don't know or think about as much?

TM: Moms know about the importance of washing hands, but a lot of people don’t necessarily know that flu germs can last six to eight hours on surfaces, and on your clothes! So it's really important for parents to go ahead and throw their kids' clothes in the washing machine [after school or an outing] and have them put on clean clothes, as well as wash their hands.

Also, building up your immunity is really important. So be sure you choose healthier options ... foods that are high in antioxidants, like berries.

More from The Stir: Snoring Linked to Learning Problems in Kids: 8 Warning Signs to Watch Out For

The Stir: Let's talk about the connection between diet and physical health -- and how you instill those healthy eating habits in your son...

TM: Oh my gosh, yes, I really started to become aware of food being medicine when I was dealing with my infertility issue. My doctor told me if I wanted things to get better, I needed to change my diet. I changed my diet for a whole year -- healthier choices, organic foods, etc. Then I got pregnant. My doctor said it had to do with my healthier choices.

So, I think the same could be said about how diet can boost your immune system. But, kids don't always want those healthy vegetables ... with my son, I put some broccoli, avocado, and spinach in a smoothie with strawberries and blueberries, and he'll never know! It's really important that we get those veggies and fruits in on a daily basis, so however I can get that in there I will -- you know, butternut squash in the macaroni and cheese!

The Stir: On the topic of being a mom and making healthy choices, you've been really outspoken recently about the importance of having a positive conversation when it comes to body image. As the mother of a son, what values are important that you pass onto him?

TM: I think it's love. It’s a simple as that. And you may say, wow, why love? Because, if you know what unconditional love is, you are also learning to love yourself. And if you can love another person, and learn how to love yourself, then it helps with peer pressure, and it helps with bullying in regard to body image.

Of course we all have fears, but I want my son to grow up confident in who he is, and I think how I get him there is telling him what love is, showing him how to love himself, even with all the differences. He's already saying, "Mommy, my hair is long." He's only 4 and kids are already starting to bully him about his long hair, saying, "Only girls have long hair." So I'm teaching him to embrace differences, and to love his own differences.

More from The Stir: Body-Shamers Ask If Tia Mowry’s Pregnant & Her Response Is Perfect (VIDEO)

The Stir: You've dealt with mean-spirited online commentary -- is the idea of online bullying something that worries you, as a mom?

TM: I do believe that there should be some type of law, some type of protection for kids against bullying online. Kids are committing suicide from bullying -- kids need to be protected more. You know, they call them Internet trolls ... I believe we should have police force against trolls. And some type of laws against racial bullying, sexual bullying or whatever -- it's really scary!

The Stir: It is! Speaking of embracing our differences, do you have anything to say about why it's important for kids of all colors to see themselves represented in the media?

TM: First of all I think it starts with opportunity. So yes, there is a lack of diversity and I’m not just talking about African-Americans, I'm talking about color all across the board. We do live in America, and America has many cultures, and all cultures should be celebrated as well. But I think it starts with opportunities at first -- there need to be more opportunities, and, yes, there also needs to be more recognition. It's important that we have people we can look up to, that our children can be inspired by, and informed by, as well.

 

Images via Aaron J. Thornton / Splash New;  @gotpaptv / Splash News

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