When I talk to parents about raising their children, they express fear that the culture and peers seem to have too much of an impact over them. But, they can influence their child by role modeling healthy thoughts and behaviors, teach them how to react to the outside world and show them ways to deal with life so that they have confidence in themselves and the world around them.
There are several practices that can teach your children how to master their life circumstance. You share with them that you are going to create a ritual to promote feeling good about the world which will help them feel good about their situation. You want to do it for a full 30 days because good habits and practices need 30 days to make a difference and train the brain to think differently. You explain that every morning when you are feeding your child some breakfast or driving your child to school, you will be asking them for 3 things that they are grateful for. Each day they must come up with 3 NEW things. That may be a simple as I am grateful for the 75-degree day, the clean water we drink, my best friend Justin, or my dog Boo Bear. You as the parent start out the scenario and then wait for the kids to follow suit. If you have a child who is in a particularly bad mood and does not want to share you let it pass as you and the others have shared their thoughts and you will be sending a positive message regardless of participation.
Kids can face a lot of anxiety when they are amid peer pressure and competition at school, with their friends or in sports. As a parent, you have the awesome ability to reinforce some affirmations that give kids permission to be “imperfect.”
Some of my favorites are: “Just practice doing your personal best, nothing more and nothing less.” This teaches your child that if they are doing the best that they can, the outcome is not important.
“Progress, not perfection.” This reinforces that the guiding principle is to look for the small and consistent changes and not necessarily the big jumps.
“What did I learn, that I can affirm?” This teaches kids that they should always look for a way to grow and even problems or obstacles are a way to gain knowledge and wisdom about a situation.
When you teach these principles to your children, it gives them permission to step out of themselves and view their lives with more objectivity and to see themselves as a “work in process.” This of course means that as their parent you need to practice the same beliefs and role model how you choose to be kind and gentle to yourself.
The last strategy to share with them is mindfulness. Great ideas come when you give your brain 2-3 minutes to decompress per day. When kids spend 2 minutes each day in quiet thought, they will be clearing their mind of the clutter and give the brain some quiet space to get in touch with what life, God, or the Universe wants them to do in their life. Meditation is a valuable tool to accessing one’s higher calling even if it is as simple as being kind to a fellow student.
Practice these principles with your kids and watch their confidence and serenity grow! Because we all know that “where focus goes, energy flows.”