We are living in a world of consumerism and materialism. Put on the TV, walk around the supermarket or look through social media feeds, and the message is loud and clear. We want to raise content children who know they are enough, but the money marketing machine is telling us we’re not enough in one way or another.
We don’t have enough, we must buy more.
We should have this car or that bag.
We should be living here or there.
We should look like this or that.
Summed up simply we are not enough as we are.
The majority of us feel this – not-enoughness.I see this all of the time with my clients, and it’s the root of many of our problems.
The two limiting beliefs I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH, and I AM NOT IMPORTANT, are the two most common.
These show up in all kinds of ways from the overachiever to the people pleaser. With this in mind, how do we raise content children and guide our children to not fall into this trap?
The Most Important A Grades
There are lots of factors to consider, but the most important A’s your child can ever receive are not their grades, they are;
We all want to be seen.
We all want to be heard.
We all want to be validated.
We all want our parent’s approval.
We all want to be loved unconditionally for who we are.
Let’s look at this in a bit more detail with a few ideas to help you bring this into your day.
Seen and Heard
All your child wants is for you to see and hear them. They want to know that what they are saying is important — that I am enough and I am important.
As an example when your child comes running into the room, or asks you to come and see what they are doing then this is the moment to engage.
Eye contact – not-half heartedly listening while your eyes are focused on your phone! Connection is vital.
By doing this you are saying I hear you – I see you – you are important.
By now you maybe be shouting at me and saying that’s impossible to do all of the time – you have work – chores – other kids to consider, etc.
I get it – but slow things down. If you can’t drop everything, then your response at this stage is equally as important.
Let your child know that you acknowledge what they need or want. You could say you’ll come up to their room in a bit. It depends on what’s going on and the child’s age, of course.
What’s essential is to – pause, step back and consider how you are going to respond.
Again, this gives your child an opportunity to know that you haven’t just dismissed them – they are important.
Children are great at misinterpreting what we’re actually saying. They don’t have the brain development or the reference point to understand that all you’re saying is your busy – you’re not saying they’re not important.
Your child is going to be emotional.
They are going to have meltdowns.
They are going to test your patience.
Welcome to the world of parenthood!
The majority of adults do not know how to process emotions, and this is why many of us end up in the chocolate aisle, eating carbs or wondering if it’s time for wine!!
Being able to process emotions is a great skill to teach your kids, and yourself. Learning to sit with whatever feeling is showing up, without dismissing the emotion or looking for a distraction. This is the reason so many people have addictions to food, alcohol, shopping and so on. Instead, sit with the feeling as it will pass.
Let your child express how they’re feeling with your love and support, without you dismissing or fixing it, and this will all add to your bond and their resilience.
You may be thinking this is a lot of work.
You don’t have the time for this.
Or maybe you are thinking I live on another planet.
Or, you could be worrying about how you responded to your child last night.
I get it. Please do not worry or panic. None of us are perfect. All we can ever do is live and learn.
I fully appreciate it is not possible to give 100% all of the time. However, the momentary pause will be worth it — even if you managed a few times a day.
The results are going to be huge, and you’ll never know the full impact.
However, your child will be an adult very soon, and if they know without a doubt, they are loved for who they are. They are important. They matter. They are seen and heard – this is priceless.
They will be less likely in the future to look for external validation from all the wrong places, because they will know they’re worthy, loved and important.
The beliefs we form as children from the age of 0 to 6 will unconsciously impact who we are as adults and how we perceive the world.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
- We live in a material world, constantly reminding us we are not enough in some way or another
- The most important A Grades your child can ever receive are – Attention – Affection – Acknowledgment
- Let your child express their feelings – be there with love and support
- As often as you can – Pause – Step back – then respond
Let’s bring up a generation of content children who know they are enough!
If you have any questions or you would like to connect, please feel free to get in touch.
Couldn’t agree more , best way for a positive affirmation
I love the message in this post. I am not yet a mother but I have a few friends who are new moms and I know they would love this post. I’ll definitely share.
As a first time mom-to-be this was such a great read. Thank you!
As a parent I struggle with handling emotions myself and sometimes when my kids have a metldown and your suggestions of giving them the attention needed is so important.
I love children and firmly believe in the importance of acknowledging their emotions and teaching them how to deal with them as they come in a healthy way. It amazes me how this wisdom escapes adults. “We all want to be loved unconditionally for who we are.” Excellent read and so vital.
These are great tips. For me what it has worked the most is not comparing my son to other kids. His achievements are his, regardless of what other kids are doing
Such a thoughtful post and so true too. I think during this lockdown- while we are forced to stay home and slow down, it has really revealed these truths to many of us. I feel like the fast pace of life definitely has us all doubting our own capabilities. Thanks for sharing this!
Very beautiful post. Once a day I tell my children that they are beautiful they way they are and they mom and dad love them.