The curious case of two worlds:
As parents, we’re doing two jobs. Parenting our children in the real world of emotions and preparing them for an online world that’s constantly changing and evolving.
Because we live in two worlds, more than ever before, teaching our children to live each day with intention and attention is essential. After all, in this digital age we live in, distractions and addictions are just a click, swipe and a hashtag away.
Teaching children now to become self aware of their strengths, learn empathy and have a contributing mindset will help them live a happy and fulfilled life later. There is a greater need of essential social and emotional skills in a world that’s facing major disruption because kids will need to learn and hold onto to them to navigate their world with integrity, motivation and courage.
Be a parent leader everyday:
Children look upto their parents for guiding their way with safety and security. They are constantly seeking help from us to make sense of the world around us.
Let’s give our children tools to deal with crisis and to always think like a problem solver. Let’s show them that there are things that we can delegate, things that we can overcome and some things that are not under our control.
Life’s made up of endless stretches of unstructured time. Why then do we think our parenting strategies should be enriching and entertaining all time? Teach them the benefits of not doing anything and sitting still once in a while.
Life lessons that last a lifetime:
a. Teach them to get good at trying and retrying even if it means failing a good number of times. Help them arrive at their own definitions of success both at school and the future.
b. Leave them to their own decision making and problem solving skills, unless, of course, their personal safety is at stake.
c. Tell them that friendships matter. Solid relationships built on trust and reciprocity lay the foundation for children to fall back on during hard times.
d. Give them the principles to live a life fully equipped for self awareness, empathy and collaboration. (Empathy is how we treat absolute strangers.)
e. Teach them values so they turn into caring, responsible, contributing adults who thrive in the real and online worlds.
f. Help them understand the consequence of not meeting deadlines, expectations, and obligations. The one who uses his time like gold is the winner.
g. Inquire if they have role clarity in what they’re supposed to do. How must they navigate the roles of student, citizen and a teenager?
h. Have honest conversations about the meaning of life, and how it can be simple yet complicated with regrets and worries.
i. Tell them its their choice to live each day intentionally and with a commitment to grow themselves and contribute to others.
j. Help them understand that a single misstep of sending a “inappropriate” picture that then goes viral can have a life altering outcome.
k. Teach them how to improve their self worth through self compassion.
l. Empower them with tools like silent time and “do-nothing” time that can help them bring their big picture goals into focus.
m. Tell them to not believe everything they see on the Internet. Overtly sexualized content and violent video games can desensitize them for any meaningful human interaction in the future.
n. Help them understand the power of self advocacy. Saying NO, if something doesn’t feel right, instead of adopting herd mentality of going with the flow.
o. Teach them lessons that shape their hearts and minds. Ask them deep questions, “What’s important? What’s quality of your life that you want to have?”
p. Ask them what they gain out of playing team sports like tennis and individual sports like chess. Do they know their game skills can also help them build relationship networks?
q. Ask them to label their emotions and face them head on. “Why do you feel that way?” “Can you give me an example, so I can be in your shoes?” Are questions that can help children interpret their own emotions.
r. Encourage them to check in with their thoughts and feelings periodically and dream up some short term and long term goals.
s. Thanks to the digital revolution, children have an avalanche of information coming at them, but its upto us to help figure out what’s relevant and important.
t. Connection with nature is the most powerful gift you can give them. See their problems dissipate when they take a hike in the big expanse of the world. They will learn to do that as their own therapy when you’re no longer in reach.
u. Encourage them to ask for help when they’re lost. There is nothing weak about seeking help.
v. Show them how to live with an abundance mindset. To be grateful for the things they have and to have no resentment for the resources they lack.
w. We can’t solve all their problems, but we can teach them how to judge risks and make responsible decisions.
x. Love them for who they are. But, don’t forget to show them your belief in their potential. Impart self-efficacy – a quality of belief in one’s own ability to achieve goals.
y. People who believe that they can bring about change are more likely to accomplish what they set out to do. They set their sights higher, try harder, persevere.
z. Let them work and help with chores. Show them they can contribute in their own small ways, by asking them to set up the table or clean up the living room. Someone’s gotta do the dirty work.
aa. As radical as it might sound, talk about vision and purpose starting from an early age.
ab. Teach them the importance of enduring relationship of family and friendships.
ac. Teach them how to improve their self worth through self compassion by being comfortable with who they are. It is their right to be treated with respect. They should give the same respect to others.
ad. We’ve come into this world empty handed, because we’ve ourselves – the biggest asset anyone can have. Attentive and nurturing parents can reduce stress and give security by teaching self reliance.
ae. Develop emotional agility to endure the long and difficult road of real life that’s ahead of them.
af. Children learn through imitation. Show them you can be trusted by demonstrating control over your own actions and distractions. Stay in control of your feelings and emotions.
“Inspite of our best efforts, and irrespective of our best intentions, sometimes things don’t turn out as expected. Tragedy might strike at any moment. That’s the game of life.”
But trust in the self, and confidence to face obstacles make children feel powerful and in control of their destiny. Our attention and care make them feel valuable and important. With a little direction and guidance they will learn to see how their thoughts have become actions and have led to certain outcomes.
Gradually with a little practice, they will start their own planning, thinking, deciding, coping and living. Children might test the limits of our love and its influence. But, in the end, all they want is love, compassion and a little understanding. Its upto us to give them the tools of personal accountability and responsibility and empower their future.