Be who you are, but the best version of you is probably my favorite family rule. Children should know that there will come a time, many times actually, they will have to make a decision in their lives. At that moment they will have to decide what kind of person they want to be. Knowing who they are and being confident in that will help them make the best choice for them.
This may sound selfish on the surface, however, you don’t want your child getting into something just because someone convinced them to do it (good or bad). You want your child to make that choice because they are passionate about it. Someone who builds homes for the needy for instance won’t put the quality of work into it as someone who is passionate about the project. No one wants to live in a home built by someone who didn’t care about their work!
Accept Who You Are
There are certain things about your child you may clash with. Showing them that this personality trait is something that you love about them is so important. Use that trait as much as possible. For example, if your child is super organized and wants everything “just so” have them help you pack lunches or organize their wardrobe (or yours!). Let them be themselves and try not to speak too much into what they are doing. Just let them GO!
Often I have to walk away from my children when they are doing something I want to control. I don’t do it in a bad way, I direct them in a general direction. Tell them what the end goal is and maybe show them how I would do it then tell them if they can find a better way go for it! I watch them for a bit to make sure they understand the concept and then I walk away. This shows them that I trust what they are doing, gives them the freedom to do it their way, and stops me from micro-managing directly or indirectly. This teaches them something about themselves too, how they do things, what they need to do to problem solve, and allows them to figure it out OR ask questions on how to solve a problem.
Change The Things You Can
We all have things we would like to change about ourselves. Sometimes it takes a little work (sometimes a lot), but if you understand why you are a certain way and then make choices that help your brain think a different way, you can change a lot.
Impatience is a great example. As you get older and wiser you learn how to control your impulse of impatience. My oldest is learning this with her siblings now. She sees herself as a very impatient person and wants more patience. When she starts to get annoyed at a sibling because they can not do something or maybe she knows she can do it better or faster, she has taught herself to breathe and figure out if it’s that important to her to step in. She has discovered (with a little help from mom) that if she lets them do it themselves they will get better with the task. She has started helping them instead of taking over or stepping back and watching them accomplish something for themselves. Their little faces are so proud and she has come to understand this. Working on her patience has been tough, there have been tears on all sides but it is so worth the struggle. I see such a release in her whole being since she has been working on this trait.
There comes many opportunities in our lives to show the world (and ourselves) the kind of person we are. When you set your children up to know this they have a better chance to recognize these situations. They can step back and decide if they are going to be this kind of person.
All through school we can all tell stories of choices we made that were good and how it effected us, and we can tell stories of bad decisions and how we never want to go back to that way of thinking again. I am not saying that your child will not ever make bad choices (those are how we make mistakes and learn!) but I am saying that if we prepare our children to be the best version of themselves they will have less of a chance to make life altering bad decisions.
Growing With Your Decisions
Every decision will shape your children’s lives. You know those movies of someone going back in time and changing one little thing? The whole world ends up different because of it! Same thing with your child. They will make a bad decision. It is your job to help them understand why they did it, learn from it, and move past it. When they make a good decision that should be celebrated. Even if it’s just a pat on the back and an attaboy.
As they grow the attaboys will outweigh the mistakes because you will have taught them making a good decision feels good and impacts you in a positive way. They will naturally want to make more good decisions. They will become the best version of themselves from knowing what choices would make them better people. It’s habit.
It’s OK to want to be the best version of you even if it’s not the decision other people around you may not want you to make. If you teach your children to be wise, use other’s gifts where they lack knowledge, and think before they speak or decide, they may end up hurting someone. Don’t apologize for this! That person didn’t want the best for your child, they chose the best path for them and that should be the bottom line.
Apologizing for doing something admits fault. Apologizing for hurting someone admits you are wrong. Don’t! That is ridiculous. If this person is hurt you can feel for them, understand where they are coming from and even tell them you will help them if they want to make the same decision with you. But saying you are sorry because you were trying to be a better you is not something that you should be sorry about! EVER! Confidence is funny that way. You understand your choice and you can stick to it no matter what other people try to take you down for.
Never Choose Something
Only To Avoid
Hurting Someone’s Feelings
Peace and Balance,