“No, you can’t go to your friend’s place now”. What is the first thought you had when you were a child and your parent’s said the same?
You probably wondered, ‘Ugh! There it comes again. Trying to control me. I wish I grow up soon so I can make my own decisions‘
Do your children share a similar thought? Do they also tell you time and again that –
- I wish I grow up soon and start earning on my own.
- I hope I go to college soon, so then I have more freedom.
- I wish I get a job and become independent, so then I can make my own life decisions.
- I wish I grow up fast, so I can…………………….
And when children have such thoughts, what’s key for parents is to understand why children have this yearning to grow big to become independent?
And mostly it’s found that children who are often criticized, advised, or fixed and children who make fewer decisions in their life are the ones who long for an adult life – to feel independent.
So, I want you to think abotu your child for a moment- what is my child feeling now, are my actions & words making them feel small & incapable?
When a child believes that s/he is incapable to make decisions or do things and that the possibility to feel capable and confident is only possible in adulthood, do you realize the consequences of such limiting beliefs when they grow big?
Such broken children grow up to:
- have more inner dialogue: Doubting every decision or action they take. ‘Have I made the right decision or not, ‘I should not have spoken like this, ‘I don’t think I am ready for this..’, ‘Am I doing the right thing’, etc.
- low confidence: Even if they know an answer to a question asked, they prefer to remain silent.
- seek validations: Seek approval and appreciation for most of the things that they do. They don’t proceed until someone gives their approval.
- fear rejection: They take rejections personally. When someone disapproves of their idea they think they have been rejected and not the idea.
And, so would you like your children to grow up with such limiting beliefs about themselves? Would you be happy about it?
And I am sure by now many of you are already thinking of your own childhood experiences and realize the damage it’s done to you if you were raised with more authority than love.
So what can you do as a parent so your child doesn’t have to wait until adulthood to feel capable, confident and independent?
- Believe. Trust your child. For once forget that adults have more experience of life than children. Sure we do, but somewhere we lost ourselves as we grew, didn’t we? So, what children need is a parent who believes in them rather than often instructing or correcting them.
- Connect. Children seek connection over perfection. Embrace their faults and mistakes. We all make bad choices even as adults, don’t we? Avoid reminding or taunting them of their past mistakes when you have an argument. It only makes the child feel that you still don’t trust them and even if they have forgotten the old stories you are still holding up there.
- Avoid saying NO.If you constantly show authority with every small decision, you are making them feel helpless and weak. I have heard parents say NO immediately and then say YES after a while when the child nags, whines, screams or becomes upset. How about you take 30 seconds before saying YES or NO. Ask this question before you make a decision, ‘what’s the problem in…….’
- Empower. Do you think you can teach your child to drive a car if you keep control of the steering? Someday you are going to have to teach and let go of your fears and hand over the steering in his/her hands. Similarly if you give children the power to steer their own life at a very early age, you are giving them the gift of greatest confidence, self-esteem and freedom.
Frederick Douglass sums up a great parenting lesson in few words – “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”.
And with this I wish you all the best with your children. And I believe that you’ll be gifting your child your trust so they start believing in themselves now rather than waiting to believe in themselves when they grow big.
I appreciate all the effort that you are taking in raising your beautiful little souls and that’s one of the reason why you have been reading this post till the end and I sincerely thank you for that.