When becoming a parent, you are sure of two things: you will feel lots of worry and lots of guilt. It just comes with the job!
However, for me as a parent, it is a constant worry about the things I should teach my children. What can I instil in them that will serve them for their entire lives?
Education only does so much, children need to learn more about others and themselves. But, where do we begin?
Well, on a recent Ted Talks, John Doran, guidance counsellor and teacher with 24 years’ experience has made it seem quite simple.
His main message leaves us asking, "Are we preparing our children for a life of tests, or for the tests of life?"
The experienced guidance counsellor wants to give children the ability and drive to become something fantastic in their future, and to really teach them the importance of “values over valuables, integrity over income, self-worth over net worth, and EQ over IQ”.
To do that, the phenomenal teacher shared three things that parents can instil in their children:
Show them they are already enough
Doran starts by explaining that the most important words you will ever say are the ones you say to yourself. He feels “I’ll be enough when….” Is a detrimental way of thinking.
Unfortunately, it is only natural to have a slightly negative inner voice, but children have less experience and fewer tools to deal with it. The issue is usually magnified when they’re faced with challenges involving school and their peers.
The best way you can help your little one is to believe in yourself that you are enough. Children are so impressionable and they grow up with learned behaviours and most adults are a product of their childhood.
Doran says “Your enoughness is not something outside of you waiting to be discovered, it's inside of you waiting to be recovered. When you let it seep into your consciousness that you're already enough, and nothing outside of yourself will make you more than you already are, you're free to change your emotional state from one of fear and anxiety to one of effort and application.”
“You're free to do the best you can in the time you've got. And then mistakes become learning experiences. So, what if you entertained the thought that what is wrong with you is nothing that can't be fixed by what is right with you?”
Imagine the things we could achieve if we all believed that we were enough.
Teach them gratitude
One of the most important things, in my opinion, that you can instil in your child is the ability to see the good. Again, our brains can lean towards the negative and it is a learned habit to see the good. It is a powerful way of thinking and it can truly bring happiness.
Doran says you can help to encourage an attitude of gratitude by "tuning in to your internal appreciation station at least once a day to what's positive in your life that's sitting silently at the back of your awareness."
One thing I like to ask my children every day is “Tell me 3 great things you did today?” or “What was the best part of your day?”
Focusing on positive is a powerful and achievable way to increase your happiness.
Encourage them to slow down
In a world full of screens and social media, it can be hard to feel like you’re getting through to your child at all. It’s hard to know if anything is even going in when you’re talking half the time, anyway!
Encourage less screen time, which is probably the most difficult one to role model! By doing this it helps your child to live in the moment, to not be a slave to their screen and also to encourage the art of natural conversations.
Huge amounts of research show how important it is for children, at times, to become bored. Having rules about screen time and encouraging your children to “just be” for a while is an important and hugely beneficial gift you can give them.
As Doran perfectly puts it “face to face time beats facetime. Every time.”