Parenting your children to own their place in the world.
I hate to scare you ladies …but this is the ultimate job of a lifetime. This is your chance to make an impact, a difference in the world, all while creating a unique and special bond for eternity. A child is so much more than the sweet helpless one-year old you swaddle in your arms, with those gorgeous doe eyes that gaze up into yours for security, love and guidance. This is a beautiful soul, that’s watching and listening to the person he or she trusts the most, you!
You are his or her lifeline and first role model. I’m not suggesting here that you put on your crown and robe and start prancing around like the queen of England …this is not about control, this about bringing out the best in humanity. I’m a mother of four, two from my very own body and two older stepchildren. The rules of engagement are different for both sets, but the underlying values are the same. Your responsibility to your offspring is to nurture and guide them within the protection and support of your love, because the truth is --
‘’Children Find in the eyes of their parents the mirror in which they define themselves. Fill them with nothing and they become nothing." -William Galser, Psychologist
Following are the “Own it, Feel it, Live it” guiding principles to prepare your child for a global society. With these principles, no matter what situation they encounter, they will have the strength and know how “within” to endure and succeed in a compassionate, mindful, manner. First and perhaps most important you should own being a mother like a warrior with, confidence and self-respect! If you want to raise your child to “own it” they’ll need to learn to be an independent, creative thinker. Teach your child to “own” their place in the world by following your lead.
1. Set Safe Boundaries.
The word “safe” is the key here. Kids feel safer when you set boundaries. As your child tests you, they are really testing their place in the world. They are testing your ability to stay rational and present…have you poured a drink yet? You are not there best friend, you are the one safe place where love and truth rules and trust is given, until otherwise shattered.
2. Instill Confidence.
Trust your “own” intuition and choices, but most importantly your child’s abilities and choices. A person can only feel confident if they are given the chance to test their place in the world, to explore and try new challenges, so they can feel capable. And, Yes, you are after all the punch bag, be patient! Engage your child in activities so they can gain strength and knowledge through real life, everyday experiences, whether it’s making a smoothie that ends up as an artistic wall covering or picking up the leaves after a storm. Be their cheerleader let them “own” the experience so they in turn can feel self-respect, capable and the power of accomplishment. Without these experiences of failure and success, your child will be left thinking, ”Why bother, they don’t believe I can do anything!” Next they become a slacker, living off mum and dad for eternity…No thank you!
3. Nurture Success and Support Individuality.
Everyone comes out of the womb as a valuable member of society and every person ultimately wants and needs to be seen as a productive and valuable member of society. Your role is to create an environment where your child feels their life has meaning and what they have to contribute has value. I’m not suggesting false praise here but genuine validation for success. Be present, listen to what’s important to them, so they feel significant and don’t judge prematurely. It’s their unique gifts the world needs next, not yours. Let go and encourage them to be curious to ask questions and own the outcome with pride and passion.
4. Encourage Conversation and Eye Contact - Have lots of them.
Remember the quote “ fill them up,” I wasn’t referring to just food! It’s only through the simple act of conversation that a child learns interpersonal skills. Ban the mobile devices and the electronics from the table and teach them to have eye contact, to listen, to exchange ideas, and to respect their own and other opinions. Ultimately the art of conversations gives a child and your future global citizen assurance that they do have a voice and the freedom to express their own feelings, ideas and needs! If you encourage your child to be the author of their own lives, they stand a good chance of being effective, happy, healthy, members of society. Most importantly they become the best version of themselves, and in turn, you! Own it, Feel it, Live… Raising a Global Citizen if the World!
I don’t know about you, but I’m emotionally spent, often confused, definitely frustrated and even frightened of this global pandemic. Not one of us can escape it on a daily basis unless we’re willing to go to that quiet place. So I thought I’d share some of the sage advice, notably the inspiration we felt after speaking to women across the USA in our MDU Diaries: COVID-19 series, recorded back in March and April.