There are common errors in our eagerness to guide our children. We may do or say things that keep them from trusting their own abilities. Some of these well-intended behaviors include:
- Doing for them when they can do for themselves: like tie their shoelaces at age 7.
- Spank or punish them when they make a mistake: example: spank them when they accidentally spill their milk on the table. Other examples … give them examples of other children so that they can “learn” from them.
- Talk to them about the sacrifices we have made for them. This only causes anxiety and fear of not being “good enough” or worthy of being here. I had a parent in a one of my classes who would tell her child how much pain she was in during childbirth and she hoped she would never go through it again!
- This also sets up the idea that mom really didn’t want me, or guilt and shame.
- Many parents give the idea to children that they are here only to please the child. Kids are happier when they know their parents have a life, and can take care of themselves. If parents spend every second of their life taking care of kids older than five, they may eventually harbor resentments.
- Kids can feel those “vibes.”
- Last but not the least; never laugh at your child’s “dreams.” Do you remember when you had some great dreams as a child? It may be easy to remember those dreams. It may well be that you stopped dreaming because you were teased or ridiculed by your family or friends. The best thing to do is to support your child’s dream, even if it sounds crazy or is against your beliefs.
Our world has some extraordinary people who have achieved great things … because someone believed in them. Gandhi once said in his most famous message to the people of India: “Man is the center of a circle which has no circumference, yet we put limitations on ourselves by our own limited belief systems.”
Hopefully you, the good and caring parents that you are, will utilize these tools to enhance and continue to develop your child’s self-esteem and creativity. Admit your own mistakes. Give your child the valuable sense that being imperfect sometimes is natural and okay. Encourage them to look at their own errors as a learning experience. Find many ways of giving them occasions and activities in which they may experience success.
Let them know you are proud of them often; you know how good it feels to get a pat on the back! Focus on the qualities, not their faults. Have a good day, and keep on keeping on!
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