Raising Powerful Children
When you become a parent, you’re given an opportunity to change the world, so make yourself a promise: you will raise your child to be a courageous, compassionate, imaginative, tolerant, and disciplined person by being one yourself.
As a parent, you can empower your kids to create meaningful, self-directed and courageous lives. When you interact with your kid:
1. Respect his fears,
…but don’t embellish them with your own worries or concerns.
2. Allow him to take things at his own pace,
…but don’t ‘overwrite’ your kid’s work, or do his homework for him. He learns by trying to do things that are hard for him.
3. Never glorify violence or punishment.
The world can be a violent place.Resolve to cultivate the discipline of a martial artist, whose capacity for violent response is always balanced with self-discipline.
4. Never humiliate her.
Only a coward humiliates another person. Being courageous requires empathy and compassion. I watched a conversation between a father and a four-year-old in a diner. As the girl told the rest of the family seated with them that she liked honey, the father said she didn’t like honey. “Yes, I do, ” she said. “I tasted it once and I liked it.” He hardly let her finish, because he was angrily shouting, “YOU are a CHILD, and children DON’T KNOW!” His outburst was illogical and rude. Certainly she knew whether honey tasted good or not, and he just came across as stupid and overbearing. It’s hard to see how his daughter would ever respect his opinion about anything. By trying to humiliate her, he ended up humiliating himself.
5. Avoid sarcasm or criticism.
Children are not equipped to counter your sarcasm. It embeds itself in their well-being like a thorn. If a child’s performance at a task could be improved, it’s up to you to provide assistance, not build your own ego with personal criticism. Teach in small steps which can be accomplished with pride. Never overwhelm a child with overly complex tasks and then ridicule their attempt.
6. Prepare her for challenging situations.
You can often anticipate challenging situations in a child’s life, such as the first day of school, first swimming lesson, or attending a formal event such as a wedding. Without painting horror stories or worst case scenarios that create worry, you can help the child imagine themselves encountering new challenges, and consider how they will respond or what they will do if they need direction.
7. Set an example with your own courageous behaviour.
They used to say, “You can take the measure of a man by the size of the things that make him mad.” Role models are not everything, but your children watch you and listen to everything you say. If you respond with fear or anger to situations, your child comes to learn helplessness and outrage. If you exhibit courage, you teach your child that we all have inner reserves of strength to meet the unexpected.