Raising Children to Make Wise Choices
Is your child connected to an inner world or getting lost in the outer world?
by Melinda Asztalos
PCI Certified Parent Coach®
What does it mean to have a strong connection to our inner world? It means that we are tapped into the richness of an inner landscape that has the capacity to guide us to achieve our full potential and live our greatest lives.
That inner world, internal guidance, conscious awareness or whatever label resonates best with you, is the place where you go to connect with a wisdom that guides and empowers as you navigate your way through life. This is the place that taps us on the shoulder with the perfect answer when we take a moment to hear its' gentle yet powerful whispers.
Without an internal guidance system, we are following a herd that is cultivated by the latest trend. We are easily influenced by the external sway of what we believe will ensure that we are socially accepted. We eat corn flakes instead wheaties because the TV commercial was more convincing.
We behave, we fit in, we do what we are told and we silence a spirit that has the potential to create the extraordinary. The extraordinary is always born from the seeds of imagination.
The more that we are able to train ourselves to listen to the innate source of our own voice, the wisdom that speaks to us from our heart of hearts, the easier it becomes to make difficult decisions with confidence. We wake up to trusting ourselves.
Helping your child get comfortable with connecting to this wisdom has many benefits. When a child has the ability to access this part of herself, she not only learns self-calming skills, she also learns to trust her inner voice especially when she has to make difficult decisions. A huge part of building healthy self-esteem is trusting that we made the right choice by following our hearts and inner nudges. Often this takes courage, especially in the teenage years.
Children will naturally gravitate towards finding a way to connect to this inner state. One way to notice this is when they play alone. They are immersed in an inner world fueled by imagination. They find ways to entertain themselves and to create new things. This is laying the foundation for future introspection.
As a conscious parent you can help your child take this one step further by encouraging introspection. For example, when your child asks a question, you can respond with, "What does your inside self have to say about it?" or "What is your spirit telling you?" In this way, you are directing your child to the awareness that we are not just our minds and we can trust our inner guidance.
When children do not have enough opportunity to play alone or have time to reflect upon their thoughts and ideas, their minds have trouble focusing and clarity becomes an issue.
These days kids have so much to "do" and less time to "be". When children are over stimulated they experience difficulty concentrating, they are not adept in self-reflection and they have trouble tuning out background noise and focusing on what they need to be focusing on in the moment.
This basically creates a state of unrest in the mind or peacelessness. Without peace there can be no clarity of thought, a limited ability to concentrate, nervousness or anxiety. As this peacelessness increases so do the stress levels of your child and meltdowns are more common and become more serious.
Behind every meltdown there is an unmet need or an unresolved problem. A pattern of meltdowns is a strong indication that attention has to be paid to what is driving the challenging behavior. When a child has the ability to direct himself doing something that requires "free thinking," there is a space created for growth and inner awareness.
Sitting in front of a computer or television does not stimulate "free thinking" it is actually a seemingly pacified yet restricted state. The child's brain is held hostage with rapid images that leave no room for freedom of individual and personal creative thinking. There is no connection to self; there is only fuel for the addictive, synthetic connection to a highly homogenized, deeply distorted and scripted way of viewing the world and human interaction.
Children need downtime as much as they need interactive play in order to stimulate their minds in the way nature intended, by problem solving and by adapting to the unpredictable dance between themselves, others and their environment.
I invite parents consider the following ideas:
- How can you keep your home peaceful?
- Is it possible to turn off the TV when no one is watching?
- Can you declutter 30% of your home to allow more energy, aliveness and light into your space? (Can you let go of things you no longer need?)
- Can you create a quiet space in your home dedicated for reading or crafting?
- (It doesn't have to be a big space, but it could be a family project to make it an exquisite space.)
- Can you set your intention to just notice how your child experiences "downtime"?
I know that this is difficult sometimes, however, if you set your intention to creating this as a possibility, and do one small thing each day to move towards more peace in your home, you will achieve your intention. You may be inspired to establish a new routine or find a creative way to communicate and implement your intention.
Engage your family in your intention so that everyone can participate even in a small way towards more peace inside the home. A peaceful place to "nest" is a safe place for the imagination to take flight.
Our world is filled with constant distractions, "Buy this, do that, see this, etc." The more we can step aside from the media blitz and reconnect with each other and ourselves, the more stable and secure we become. From this place of connection, a greater sense of peace emerges.
A child feels more capable and confident when he can trust his inner voice. As you demonstrate that there is power in "checking in" with your "inside self," your child will tend to move away from the desire to prove himself because he knows that he can trust his instincts and decisions.
As a child begins to value her ability to think things through, confidence and self-esteem have an easier way in. Taking small, simple steps to simplify declutter and offer time for introspection goes a long way towards cultivating a sense of peace that supports a healthy lifestyle with greater opportunity to turn inward towards the miracle of imagination.
Copyright © 2012 Melinda Asztalos, all rights reserved. Used with permission.