To nurture your child’s intuition and validate their feelings, try being real vs. perfect. You’ll find you both win in the process
Most children are like walking talking radio receivers! They pick up on everything and are extremely (sometimes irritatingly) aware of what goes on around them, spoken or unspoken. And in contrast to all of us, children have not yet learned to pretend like nothing is different when the energy shifts or the mood swings.
My daughter knows within a split second if I have something going on. She will walk into my room and ask, “Mum, is everything ok?”
In that moment I can choose to be perfect or I can choose to be me. And my choice will give my daughter different gifts for the future. Let’s explore just two possible answers in a situation where I’ve had an unexpected phone call that made me upset. My daughter walks through the door and asks, “Mum, is everything ok?”
I answer, “Oh yes, of course! Everything is fine, sweetie.”
I answer, “I am a just bit upset. I just had a phone call with a friend of mine who gave me some news that made me really angry.”
Now, if I choose scenario one, my daughter will walk away doubting herself. She will stop trusting that gut feeling that is such an amazing guide in life. She will doubt her knowing and her capacity to read people and situations.
If I instead choose the second scenario, and choose to lower my barriers and be vulnerable with my daughter and with what is actually going on, that in turn will acknowledge her awareness and knowing, and she will end up trusting herself even more in the future.
She will know that she knows.
In addition, it will open up the space of vulnerability for her. It’ll show her that everything is allowed and included in our conversation. Next time I ask her, “Sweetie, are you ok?” she will know it is ok to pull her barriers down and answer with what is true, and not with what is expected…
See, most of us spend our whole lives trying to say what is expected, normal and rational. We constantly try to prove how good and right we are, while thinking we’re bad and wrong inside. We learn early on to shut out that radio-receiver, since we doubt the energetic information we receive. And once the barriers are up, we can’t even hear ourselves anymore.
Vulnerability can open up a completely new way to navigate the world — from your knowingness. To have vulnerability with yourself is to never put up a barrier to who you truly are, or what is going on around you. That allows you to be present with everything, and be anything.
The thing is, you can’t teach your children vulnerability. The only way to give your child the gift of vulnerability is to be it.
Yes, there may definitively be times when it is appropriate to not tell a child exactly what is going on. There are times when what will create the most benefit is to use a white lie in order to foster the sense of safety that is required.
And you know when those times are. Those are not the times I am talking about. I am talking about all the other times.
Next time your child asks, “Is Everything Ok?” what if you choose to go for the vulnerable answer? And be you.
This article is an extract from the book The Very Greatest Adventure, a compilation of empowering stories from Being You facilitators trained under Dr. Dain Heer. Reproduced with permission from the publisher.
You may also enjoy reading The Secret to Successful Mothering (That Took Me 21 Years to Learn) by Rebekah Borucki