No longer is it true where children can have freedom and enjoy ‘just being kids’. I remember when I was young, I would be outside in the fresh air, bike riding, climbing trees, and playing in the playground with my friends. I didn’t have the pressures that are so commonplace today, where even from primary school age, I would have to start building my educational CV so that I could pave my way to the ‘best’ schools and beyond.
For the ones of us who do have children, this sounds all too familiar. And it’s difficult not to fall into the trap of frantically worrying about the future of the next generation in this ‘winner takes all’ competitive world. We may feel that in order to have a decent and comfortable life, their education and earning potential is key. And although we all seem to say that all we want is for our children to be happy, it doesn’t take a genius to know that to deprive a child of their full potential is of equal devastation.
But before we start to even contemplate a strategy to create success for our child, we need to take a step back and understand the big picture. Here are four fundamental factors that are often overlooked, but will build the solid foundation for both happiness and success:
- Calm your own energy (yes, I mean you!) .
If you haven’t read my previous blogs about Energy, you may want to do that in order to understand the science behind it. Energy is everything and everything is energy. We all hold frequencies within our systems (mind and body) that influence our personalities, our thoughts, emotions and eventually our actions. Our energies also interact with one another and communication doesn’t stop at our words or body language. The way we feel may affect our loved ones; or maybe you just know that someone is angry with you as they enter the room without even saying a word?
So if your energy affects those around you, imagine how your constant stress and anxiety is affecting your child? Or even worse, if you get frustrated or angry when something isn’t done to your expectations, how this will affect the energy of the person you are directing it towards. Negative energies affect others and will eventually affect their self-esteem. In the short term, it may fuel them to work harder, with the fear of failure being instilled within them. However, in the long run, the possible achievements will also have joined forces with prolonged negative thoughts and feelings that will affect them in later life.
Read my blog Ten Ways to Declutter your Life for tips on how to help reduce your negative energies.
2. Start with a clear mind.
Have you ever tried to accomplish a simple task, while a million other deadlines are competing for your attention? Something that would normally take someone with a clear mind about five minutes, may take you an entire day, with the possibility of not even completing it.
We may think we are great at multi-tasking, but in reality, we should instead be ‘single-tasking’ to get things done better and faster. When we are trying to focus on too may things, we are not giving enough energy to the each task and can therefore end up running in circles.
Get your child to sit down with you and take five minutes to do some simple deep abdominal breathing. Close your eyes and be aware of your breath and try to let everything else go – it may be hard to still your mind at first, but it will come with practice. This can be done before you start your day, or at any point in the day when things start to feel a little bit overwhelming. For more about this technique, read my blog The Power of Breath.
3. Set a schedule
Stress is a constant in many people’s lives. But it can get worse if things creep up on you, or if you forget a deadline. Setting a schedule with your child is so important and will set them up in later life.
Picture a toddler who is having fun splashing in the bath, and all of the sudden you pull them out and tell them it’s time for bed. What do you think will happen? I know I’m over simplifying things, but when the expectation is set so that outcomes are known, there is a higher chance that things will go according to plan. For example, I know I used to dread studying for exams, and if I didn’t plan out what I was going to revise, and when, I ended up getting over-anxious that I wouldn’t have enough time. So most of the energy that would have gone into learning the materials I was studying ended up being wasted on excessing worrying.
Eliminate the wasted time where the practice actually becomes counter-productive. Set a schedule with times allocated also for enjoyable activities, as well as time to breathe.
4. Accept what can’t be changed
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but how many of us are actually doing what’s best for our child? Or is there a tendency (even a small one) to give them the things that we didn’t, or couldn’t, do?
It’s really important to understand that our children are not us. Just because we gained a valuable experience in one way doesn’t mean that this will be equally valuable to our child. We are all unique individuals – even our children are, where we don’t possess ownership to their beings nor can we determine their behaviours and personalities. This doesn’t mean we can’t help to shape their characters and values, so that they grow up as decent and kind human beings. It just means that we need to be conscious of the fact that we should not live our lives (or mistakes) through them.
Questions you should ask yourself are, What makes them happy? What are they good at or have passion for? This is where you should start. You could even use these answers to help with their motivation to work on the things that they need to. But don’t they to stick a square peg in a round hole. If anything, your child is unique and special in their many ways. Embrace these differences as this is what will make them stand out and make their mark in this world.