Children Need Guidance… Not Controlling
Children need guidance from their parents to help them make positive choices instead of controlling them or choosing for them. When parents act as a guide they are teaching their children to rely on their own inner guidance system.
As my granddaughter, Kaitlyn, approached her thirteenth birthday, she came to me with a request to wear makeup. She initiated the conversation by telling me that ALL of her friends are allowed to wear make-up… (Nothing new there!)
I listened as she told me who was wearing what and how it looked. She went on about how she really wanted to wear make-up and because all of her friend's parents felt it was okay she wondered how I felt about her wearing make-up now as well…"After all" she said, "I am thirteen now."
In all honesty, I was tempted to just offer the typical reaction that many parents are quick to give their children, "No, you are too young and I don't care what other parent's and their children do!"
But I didn't, I took a deep breath and then asked her in a calm, nonjudgmental or confrontational tone, "Would you have wanted to wear make-up if your friends were NOT wearing make-up?" I think my question took her by surprise because she looked a little confused.
She thought about it for a few minutes and said with a sheepish grin “probably not…BUT!”.
We continued with the conversation and talked about the reasons to do something and what would not be a good reason to do something. It was a perfect opportunity to talk about peer pressure, what that feels like, and how to not fall victim to it. Through the conversation, Kaitlyn acknowledged that what she really wanted was to feel a part of her group of friends… to “fit in”.
She also shared with me that she thought her friends who were wearing makeup (and as it turned out, it was only 2 of them!) looked much older than they were and although looking like you are 18 when in fact you are 12 or 13 can be kind of cool…it really didn’t make sense to try to be something you aren’t.
Most of these revelations came about through Kaitlyn’s own thought process…her inner guidance system…not mine. My role was to facilitate the conversation in a way that encouraged her to pay attention to and respect how she truly felt and to then act on her true feelings.
Kaitlyn concluded that she was happy wearing her tinted lip gloss…and nothing more for now!(Yeah!)
Following our conversation that led to Kaitlyn’s decision, I told her I felt she had reached a good decision because she felt it was right. I also told her I was proud of her willingness to explore her true feelings rather than just following the choices of others.
When we guide our children through the decision making process we are teaching them how to look at situations from all sides. When we allow them to find the answer that is right for them, we are sending a message to them that we trust them and believe in their ability to make good choices.
Children who feel their parents trust their judgment and inner guidance system are quicker to rely on it themselves.
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Denny Hagel is a child advocate and parenting coach, devoting over 25 years to the success and well being of all children. She is the published author of over 150 articles on parenting, many of which have attracted international attention in over 24 countries.
Denny was blessed with forward thinking parents who raised her with an understanding of her value as an individual, her innate power to choose by way of her thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs, thus, instilling in her a strong sense of personal responsibility for what happens in our lives
She is the founder of Awakened Parenting LLC, a company dedicated to helping parents release parenting paradigms of the past and consciously choose to raise their children to approach life with a positive mindset and strong sense of self. It is Denny’s passion to combine what she learned through her formal education in early childhood education and psychology and what her parents instilled in her and pass this on to all parents.
Denny has created the discussion group "Awakened Parenting Discussion Forum" on Face Book which now has nearly 600 members. She does on line coaching with parents and teachers who consult her on a regular basis. Denny collaborates with counselors, authors, coaches and others working in the parent coaching field. Denny Hagel is the author of the newly published "The Missing Secret to Parenting", "The C.P.R. Program for Parents & Teens: Conflict Prevention/Resolution Formula", "Mini-Me Syndrome" and two free e-booklets “Parenting Using the Law of Attraction” and “Becoming an Awakened Parent".