It has been said that as a society, we’re not doing a very good job of raising our children. There is much evidence to support this claim. Far too many children are experiencing neglect, abuse, abandonment, harsh punishment, criticism and the stress of excessive expectations. They’re not being raised to feel loved, wanted, accepted and appreciated and three outcomes of this experience are childhood obesity, video game addiction and a bullying epidemic in our schools.
Feeling good about yourself is a critical factor in our health and happiness, perhaps, the single most important factor. That being said, it would seem the leading priority of parenting is to raise our children to feel good about themselves.
Feeling good about yourself means that you feel lovable, deserving, adequate and empowered. It means that no matter what anyone says, you know you’re an awesome person and if you want your child to grow up feeling this way, there are seven things you can do.
Before we begin examining this list, it’s important for parents to understand two things. First, young children learn primarily through mimicking. It’s literally monkey see, monkey do. So whatever you want them to be or do, you must be it yourself. You can’t tell your child to be patient, then turn around and yell at other drivers in traffic. You also can’t teach your child to act with integrity if you don’t.
Second, if you really want to be an effective and loving parent you’re likely going to have to rid yourself of some unwanted emotional baggage. We all have unresolved emotional pain (Eckhart Tolle calls this the pain body) and without being aware of it, it will interfere with your best efforts to be an effective parent. If you find yourself getting impatient, frustrated or angry with your child, it is not likely because of what the child is doing, but rather because of the anger you are already holding inside. This awareness alone will make you a better parent.
Here are seven things you can do:
- Make your children your priority. Seems pretty straightforward, but how often do we not. Jobs, careers, housework, yard work, divorce, etc, get in the way and children feel the sting of rejection and abandonment. Be present … without being judgmental or bossy. Be involved in your child’s life. Spend quality time with them. In this way, they will know that they are important to you.
- Be nurturing. Hug and cuddle your children often. It reassures them that everything is okay … that they are safe. Never let the physical touch you give your child be that of a slap of a hand.
- Be kind. We could end suffering on this planet simply by being kind to one another. Be a good role model. Let everything you do come from a place of kindness.
- Teach your children to express their feelings. Allow them to express anger. Allow them to cry. Talk to them. When they express, they let go.
- Teach your children to focus in doing their best. Don’t put pressure on them to win and achieve ‘A’s.’ Winning and ‘A’s’ comes from doing your best, It’s not the other way around.
- Teach them to live in the present moment. All living takes place in the present moment. Avoid fretting about the past or worrying about the future. Show them how to totally focus on and enjoy what they are doing.
- Teach them good eating habits. Poor health, obesity and acne can seriously impair a child’s sense of self worth. Encourage them to eat healthy foods and limit the amount of sugar and junk food they consume.
Parents literally hold the key to the future in the palm of their hands. That key is their children. Raise your children to feel good about themselves and they will have confidence. They will have a good attitude. They will act with integrity. They will be happy and healthy and they will accomplish things you couldn’t possibly imagine.
Have an awesomely nurturing day!