Are you an EMPOWERING parent?
Posted Jun 15, 2009
The oak sleeps in the acorn
Similar to the acorn that holds the latent potential of the oak tree within, each child holds his or her greatness. It is "believing in" this greatness, nurturing it and empowering your child to become his or best self that marks this new age of positive parenting. Gone are the days where parents solely want their kids to get "good jobs" but now we want them to have rewarding lives! It is a shift of epic proportions.
Such a shift begins with empowering kids. Literally helping them gain a sense of inner confidence, courage and strength to successfully surmount whatever life presents! It is guiding them to persevere when obstacles arise in childhood, as they always do, such as bullies, failed grades, mistakes, disappointments and bruises. Such inner gusto will also goad them onto to pursue their dreams.
Empowering literally means to "put in" or "to cause" power as derived from its Latin roots. The act of empowering children is a process of guiding them to feel and believe that they are powerful now as well as creating optimum conditions that mirror back to them these concepts.
Owen, age 5, lit up when his father told him he was "so creative" and "talented" in his painting class. It's almost as if you could literally see Owen looking more confident and stronger. It is a great example of a child beginning to feel like a powerful creator.
Unfortunately, well-intentioned parents sometimes do the opposite as well. Olive, age 8, was dancing with friends and playing with her hula-hoop in the park. It was just good ole summer fun. Her mom, Jenny, told Olive that she looked like she had "two-left feet" when she was dancing. Olive cried. Such words subtracted versus added power.
Empowering others doesn't necessarily come naturally to everyone! Good news is that it is a learnable skill.
Learning to empower children isn't complicated. It really takes the same effort that you apply to any goal with enthusiasm, dedication and a willingness to "set aside" your preconceived ideas, projections and personal baggage. A child so wholeheartedly wants to believe his or her dreams can come true. So it is up to us, the adults, to support this notion (whether it makes sense to us or not!). Like little Joey, age 3, who told me he wants to be a spaceship repairman. I said "GO FOR IT."
So as you gather your emotional and mental forces to focus upon empowering your child or children, there are 2 techniques that can help you consciously empower them. They are:
- Mirroring - It is the process of serving as the reflection of a child's abilities, skills and qualities so they begin to "see" themselves as they really are: highly valuable, talented and capable right now.
Owen's father, from above, mirrored to Owen his creative strengths. The effect was nearly immediate as you could see Owen feeling more positive and confident.
- Encouragement - It is the act of literally "putting in courage" or belief in your child. Such support enables them to "see" themselves as they are: highly competent now.
Madeline, age 6, had her training wheels taken off recently. She was excited and terrified. Her mom, Sam, came to her side and said, "You can do it! I believe in you" and with a little push, she did it! Such words of encouragement made all the difference.
Encouragement and mirroring may seem extremely simple to you. I agree. I also believe that many things are simple but not always easy. Like riding 100 miles on your bicycle conceptually is easy but the practice becomes a whole lot harder. This much I know for sure!
Empowering Kids full article is available in the September issue of Pure Inspiration magazine.
By Maureen Healy, Follow-me on twitter (mdhealy)
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