How to Nurture Authenticity in Your Children
Look for your children's natural directions in life
Posted Jul 22, 2017
Parents want their children to be happy in life. Paradoxically, that can translate into anxiety in the parent to push the child towards achievements that they are not interested in. For example, insisting that their son studies hard to ensure they get into law school. That might work out okay if the child is actually interested in getting into law school, but not if they want to be a costume designer for the film industry.
But children don’t know what they want so it is best to push them to do something, right? I don’t think so. Maybe children can’t always name the career they want to go into, but if you observe them, take an interest in them, and listen to them, you will learn what they like, what they are good at, and what directions in life best suit them.
Left to their own devices, children will do the things that come naturally to them. Are they instinctively drawn to playing with the building blocks, the dressing up box, the painting set, the guitar at the back of the cupboard, or the set of maps tucked away on the bookshelf? Whatever it may be they will use their strengths, interests and abilities and through their use they will nurture them and develop them further. It is in this way that they grow into becoming themselves.
Showing interest in your children is important. Many parents misunderstand what it means to show interest and push their interests onto their children. They want their children to take an interest in a particular activity. They may want their children to like the same things that they do. Instead, listen to your children to find out what interests them. Ask your children questions about what they think and feel. Let it be their interests that guide you. ’What made that fun for you?’ ‘What is it that you like so much about that?’
Listen to your children with the sole purpose of understanding what it is like to be them and what interests them. Only then can you truly support them to develop their interests. You need to look out for their strengths, talents and abilities.
Find out more in my new book Authentic. How to be yourself and why it matters