06 Aug Inner Compass
Would you like your child to be connected to their inner compass?
One of the things that makes for a happy and confident child is that they are connected to their inner knowing and needs.
A self-aware child can access their own self-knowing and intuition. They are connected, so they move through the world with intention. For example, they can say no to bullying, they know they need to go to bed by 9pm, they understand that sugar makes them break out, they get that doing art makes them happy, they don’t go to the dance because “everyone” is going.
In order to develop this inner compass, your kid is going to have to get lost once in awhile. Toddlers will fall down and go boom as they learn to balance. Kindergartners learn to negotiate and share through digging in and hoarding. And teens — well, we know they have private lives and a strong need for independence by the No Trespassing signs on their bedroom doors.
The key ingredient in developing their inner compass is that their parents have created space for them to understand their own wellness.
Question: How can our behavior as parents support our child to develop their inner compass?
Give them the power of decision. Create space for the experience (and good or bad results). Then circle back and discuss what happened and how it worked or didn’t work for them. (Conscious conversation, alert) I wrote a blog about it, HERE.
For instance, my son had a friend sleeping over and they asked if they could go to the corner store and buy ice cream. No problem. The next day, I asked my son’s friend how he’d slept. “Not so good,” he said. “I bought a 5-hour Energy at the store and drank it last night!”
Yikes. If this had been my kid and he’d asked if it was okay to drink a 5-hour Energy before bedtime, I would have responded, not with a loud and definite, “No freakin’ way!” (which is how I feel) but with questions:
Have you done that before?
How did it feel?
Are you sensitive to how much sleep you get?
And the day after, I asked our visitor a question, “Did you make the connection between 5-hour Energy and staying awake for 5 hours?”
This way of being with the experience allows me as an adult to help him understand his own body better. Now he has his own experience of energy drinks; I could warn him about what they’ll do to his body but it’s more informative that he’s actually felt it.
We need to let kids make decisions, even the ones we know will have a less than desirable outcome — adding cayenne to the smoothie, gargling with straight tea tree oil, sitting inside all day binging on Netflix. The decisions that we know are “totally wrong.” We need to be present for the consequences without being judgy but holding a sacred space for making mistakes as a key part of real learning!
I think we all have the capacity for paranoia that leads to helicopter parenting. Who doesn’t want to solve every issue for our kids and protect them from the bee stings, bullies and bad apples? While we focus on helping kids develop a strong inner compass, we need to keep the helicopter far away from the action, being watchful and aware but limiting our (perfectly natural and understandable) interventionist tendencies.
(I’m not saying to stay away entirely — your helicopter may need to make an emergency landing when your kid is putting their hand directly into a campfire.)
Culturally, parents drive the bus so strongly and make so many decisions for their kids that they deprive them of the opportunity to go through a process of self inquiry. Allowing kids to make decisions about their bodies, right and wrong, gives them the direct experience of what works for themselves.
It gives them power to make internally based decisions and not be swayed by culture or pressure.
A kid connected to their inner wisdom can navigate the rough seas of life by paddling their own boat.
They’ll eat healthy food because it feels good for their body, not for “nutrition.” They’ll join a sports team because they love the feeling of playing, not because they want to fit in. They may even become a poet because their teacher allowed them to stare out the window.
A lot of parents have chosen helicoptering because they’re trying to stop bossing their kids around and they think that hovering gives them more freedom. I have a better way of helping you help your child choose for themselves and we will delve into that in my upcoming program Well-Beings: Sign up HERE to be alerted when it opens.
Remember: a lecture fades away on the wind, but hands-on experience gives your child a lifelong comfort with their own inner compass.
Signing up for my course will help your child (and you) navigate all the decisions that come their way in a healthy, aware manner. I look forward to see you there (HERE)!