What kids are not told but should be told often:
- That they mean the world to us and they make us limitlessly happy too (along with making us stressed).
- That they have something of great value to contribute because of how unique they and their abilities are.
- That they matter, and they are good the way they are. They are just enough and whole by being themselves.
- That they won’t be judged irrationally, and that its OK to fail and rise up.
How children thrive:
When children find themselves the center of attention of their parents or their caregivers, it lifts their sense of self immensely. They want to know they matter.
- They want to feel the weight of your arms around them and the scent of your presence in their surroundings.
- They develop their courage if they know you’re always watching them from the sidelines.
- Simply sharing a joke with them when they’ve your complete attention can mean the world to them.
- They thrive when you empower them to believe in themselves and encourage them to realize their highest potential.
Strategies that help children and teens open up:
Create an environment to thrive:
When we can show times and places in our home when we relax and are open minded, children pick up on our patience for listening. After all, they want to be held to calm their worries down. And that’s how we create a secure space for them, where they don’t have to be afraid to be themselves.
Dinner Time can be a time for togetherness. A time to open up beautiful arguments. To create rituals and celebrate traditions. And to show that its OK to have opinions.
Identify triggers in children:
Having high expectations of children if they’re struggling to cope results in conflict. Anxiety comes with the uncertainty of new circumstances that both parents and growing children face. Anxiety arises when both the parent and child refuse to see the other’s point of view.
As they enter middle school, they are also eager to meet peer expectations. Sometimes peer expectations can be in direct conflict with parental expectations. What is cool with his peers might be an absolute no no for a child’s parent.
How a child adapts to his changing environment and the needs of his burgeoning youth determines his self confidence and self esteem.
Moving towns or even schools in the middle of their emerging youth years might be a detriment to their self worth. As we all know, finding new friends at any age can always been challenging. A child’s social intelligence and compatibility of engaging with the community will also determine in how well he will thrive.
Fail them periodically:
Once in a while, leave them to the results of their own decisions. Don’t try to put a band-aid on their problems right away. Don’t try to fight for them. In reality, children want help themselves. Leave them to learn a little. Remember, risk averse children find it very difficult to move onto the next phases of their lives whether it is going to high school or to college.
Real life that plays on playgrounds, play dates and sleepovers isn’t built to keep children out of trouble. That’s the only way to prepare for life in high school and beyond. Showering children with attention is different than rescuing their every fall. Paying attention should help pick up on their needs and gifts.
Knowing Anxiety vs. Love:
We have love for our children. That love is theirs. We have anxiety about our children. That anxiety is ours. We need to separate both of them. We often mistake our anxieties and worries as a demonstration of our love for our children. We easily get into arguments with them arguing that we’re doing what we’re doing for their own wellbeing. But here are some facts around anxiety and love. We need to understand that our anxieties are our responses to the choices we see them making. Love is not a choice, but anxiety is.
As their physiological and cognitive functions develop, teens begin to develop the ability to think abstractly. They’re bursting with information about the exciting life that’s happening around them. They also become self conscious of their growing bodies as puberty marks the end of childhood.
Believe it or not, having rules, expectations and boundaries to follow, makes children feel loved. If they don’t have boundaries set for them, they feel less protected and undervalued. Without rules, they begin to question if they even matter to us. Think about it, even if your child tells you they don’t like your rules, for this reason, they must be set.
Boost self confidence:
Never do things that they can do for themselves, because it gives a chance to build their confidence. Here are some tips to encourage positive self worth and self compassion in children.
Well rounded parenting:
Psychologically wise parenting is appreciating that children need love, limits and latitude to reach their full potential. Parenting authority should be based on knowledge and wisdom rather than power. A child being raised by such parents should be able to feel this way:
- I can count on my parents to help me out if I have a problem.
- My parents spend time talking to me.
- My parents and I do things that are fun together.
- I can share my troubles with my parents.
- I get praised and congratulated for my achievements.
Showing your humanity:
Teaching our children about our lives by making them aware of how we’re learning and growing each day as well. They need to know that in our lives too, there are factors that are out of our control.
Our businesses might be collapsing. And our lives might be revolving around money that we don’t have enough of. But how sad is it if children are the victims of the crises that the adults in their lives are experiencing?
From the father, a child learns the attitude of perseverance and hard work. From the mother, a child learns to believe in the institution of love and nurture. But most family units now don’t follow traditional definitions of the by gone times. Many families are disjointed. But, having a simple definition of the modern family can help. “A family is all the people who live collectively in a household.”
Some adults who’re parents now have grown up with adverse childhood experiences, like physical abuse and emotional neglect. They might have been victims of divorces, separation and parents struggling with mental illness or addictions. Such terrible events can sometimes make parents incapable of putting their past behind and do their best for the children in their care.
Model community oriented behavior:
Put them in places where they see you interact with community members. Show case your own contributions to your family members and strangers. Kids mimic parents behavior to a very large extent and modeling our own behavior to what we expect out of them is the best way to teach them.
By living true to your nature, you can teach them to love and laugh a little. By surrounding yourself with things that you enjoy, you can help them do things they love instead of the things they dread.
During the ages of 5 to 12, children learn to do things on their own. This is the age where they feel confident in their ability to initiate and achieve goals. Negligence or restrictions on a child during such time casts doubts on his own abilities leaving him not striving for competence because of feelings of inadequacy. ~ Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority by Erik Erikson.
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