Children learn by observing those around them. They look to their parents, their siblings, their relatives and their teachers to understand how to act, respond and interact. That’s why it’s important to share with our children who we are and how we experience life.
When we were little, many of our parents felt it would undermine their authority to engage with their children on any level other than being the authoritarian parent, which meant acting ‘grown-up’. In their world, grown-ups didn’t laugh or make mistakes or talk about their own life experiences.
These are 5 things that I feel are important to share with your child. They aren’t necessarily things to teach your child, but rather things that you do that in the end will give your child invaluable life gifts. Share your experiences; share what these things mean to you, or in some cases actively display these things in your own life.
Love –Caidin and I talk a lot about love. The different types of love – love for a family member, love for a friend, love of things. He’s asked me about old boyfriends, what it’s like to be in love and I’ve answered him honestly. I’ve told him that love can be wonderful, it can be consuming, it can be overwhelming, but most importantly when it comes to love, I’ve shared with him that I believe in loving fully. I’ve explained to him that people hold back out of the fear of being hurt. But when we choose to love fully we seldom have regrets because we didn’t reserve anything. He also hears me say ‘I love you’ often – to him, to his Dad, to his Grandma, to our animals. Being willing to show love and share love, without condition teaching a child to embrace love fully and completely.
Laughter – For me, there is nothing better than getting into a laughing fit with Caidin. Laughter releases stress, it lightens our heart and it offers a host of other health benefits, but more importantly it creates a unique moment between parent and child that is memorable and bonding. From an energetic perspective, what we remember are moments of both high energy and low energy. The moments that we laugh together are high energy moments. I remember the first time Caidin laughed, he was on the changing table and I was trying to pull his pants on over his diaper. His giggle sounded like silvery music. More recently Caidin surprised me as he was coming up the stairs and I was heading down. I let out a yelp and we both laughed untilled we cried. These are moments that will be remembered.
Truth – I believe that as children we intuitively know when someone is telling the truth or when they are lying. As we grow up and we are told lies by the people we trust, we begin to doubt our internal knowingness. By the time we are teenagers we lose that ability. Sharing the truth with children helps to establish trust and confidence. It also helps your child to honor what they intuitively know. And when we share the truth we teach our children to tell the truth themselves. Sometimes it takes a little extra thought to find the words that fit your child’s age, but in the end sharing the truth with your child will pay off in big ways down the road when you want them to confide in you and to trust you with those difficult life moments that are inevitable.
Mistakes – We all make mistakes, but sometimes as parents we think we need to appear perfect. Perfection is hard for a child to measure up to, especially when we’re not really perfect in the first place. I think it’s important to show our children that we make mistakes and to then either show them or talk about how you fix your mistakes. If we try to be perfect in our kids’ eyes, we create an illusion that can’t ever be matched. When we acknowledge our mistakes and demonstrate how we react and respond to them, we teach our children that mistakes happen but what’s important is what we do afterward.
Gratitude – Sharing our gratitude for the people and things in our life and even for our life in general teaches a child exactly that – to have gratitude, but what they gain can even go beyond that. I tell Caidin all the time how happy I am that he is here and that he is my son. He in turn tells me how happy he is that I am his Mom. For a child to understand that the mere opportunity to be in each other’s lives is a gift will shape how he sees every relationship as he grows up. When you live with gratitude and you share that with your child, they learn to live their life with gratitude as well.
These are just five of the many things we can share with our children. What’s most important is to consider how your child sees you based on what you share with them. The idea is to show our children that in addition to being their parents, we are human. Just as they have experiences, so do we and we are willing to show these experiences and to talk about them. When we share with our children we open the door to meaningful communication, to trust, to bonding, to understanding and to compassion and that’s why sharing who we are is ultimately so important.
What do you share with your child?
© 2012 Christine Agro
Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide, a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.