Above all, I think the one thing we all want for our children is for them to be happy. Kids don’t need the latest and greatest toys, and they don’t need you to shuffle them off to sport after sport, camp after camp. What they need is your unconditional love and guidance as they calibrate themselves to this world and learn to guide themselves.
Our children are constantly watching us. If our words don’t line up with our actions then they will take our actions as our truth, as what we really mean. They’re constantly accumulating information, guidelines, and rules as they learn and grow, so we need to be on our best behaviour as parents. They are our mirrors. They will show us how we are doing as parents in the way they mirror our actions back to them. If you don’t like what you see, it’s time to change your own behaviour.
If we are to raise conscious children, then we must be conscious ourselves. We must lead by example. We must show them that no matter what is happening around us, how we feel is our choice. Make the choice to feel good anyway. We must show them that outside circumstances do not control us. We control us.
In any moment it is our choice to feel good or to feel bad, and our children must learn that they are in control of their choices as well. Lead by example. If your children see you constantly crack under pressure and just freak out, what do you think they’ll do the next time they’re stressed out? Right on, they’re going freak the F out. But if they see that you are calm when confronted by a stressful situation; looking for possible solutions and reaching for the best feeling thoughts, how do you think they’ll react in a similar situation?
We must teach our children to believe in themselves, that anything they want to create in life is possible. Build their confidence. Teach them how to laugh at themselves. Teach them to let go of things that they can’t control and focus instead on what they can. And above all show them how to love themselves. How do I do all of that? I can hear you asking… Believe in yourself. Show them your confidence. Laugh at yourself. Let go of the things you cannot control. And above all, do it all from a state of deep self love.
Fear teaches us where our souls need to grow. We needn’t be afraid. We need to push through those fears and have a dance party on the other side. Show them how.
Build their confidence by helping them speak their truth. Draw focus to their strengths and their passions. It doesn’t matter what it is as long is it feels good to them. Teach them to follow their bliss. This is how they’re going to thrive in the world when they’re not holding your hand.
I remember begging my mom to let me play hockey. I kept getting “no, no, no” because she didn’t want me to get hurt. Thankfully she let me quit figure skating for the sole reason I wanted to quit: “Because I’m too cold.” I didn’t miss it at all. I entered a bowling league for a couple of winters, which was fun, but it wasn’t my passion, it was hers. One day, out of the blue, she said I could play hockey. I don’t know what changed her mind but I loved it, I was good at it, and I still play today. Your kids know what turns them on. They know what feels good and what feels bad, so keep the communication open and let them follow what feels good. Let them try new experiences. Let them quit others. Let them simply be themselves without trying to control them.
Our 4 year old can get into some pretty bad moods. We used to fight about it. Now I ignore it completely so I don’t encourage that type of behaviour by giving him negative attention. Instead, I offer him a chance to change his state. I turn on some dance music and start having a dance party. I know that the positivity of the rest of the family will draw him into the happiness vortex that we’re creating, and sooner or later he’s going to find staying angry to be a lot more effort than giving in to the overwhelming happiness in the air.
When he’s back in a good mood, we talk about what happened, about how he himself is in charge of how he feels, and how life is so much easier when we choose to be happy. We’ve had the same conversation many times and I don’t mind. We’re building a pathway to success. When he’s in a bad mood, it’s important for him to learn how to change his state. We’re giving him the tools he needs to choose happiness.
Of course, the easiest way for kids to change their state is to ask them if they want some ice cream, but we want to teach them life skills that are not dependant on anything but their own mind and body! Food is the most abused antidepressant in the world, and we do not want to use it to bribe our children out of a bad mood. It’s ok if you’ve done that in the past, because really, what parent hasn’t!? But that’s not the pathway to happiness you want to use with your children on a regular basis or it will become a big problem for them in the future…
Be the you that you want your children to grow up to be! Remember, they’re ALWAYS watching.