Dear friends, I recently completed a year of doing my column “Parenting on Purpose” and I’ve written my last article, at least for now. It has been a wonderful year and I have very much appreciated your support! It has been so gratifying to hear from you, and answer questions you’ve had regarding the very important […]
Peer pressure affects everyone at some point in their lives. The pressure to conform is tremendous, especially when it comes to children. They will want to do whatever their friends are doing, seeking acceptance and that feeling of fitting in. However, one of the best things you can do when raising kids is to let them know that it’s okay to be different from everyone else.
The lesson you need to embody and teach your children is that there is only one unique version of everyone on Earth and that includes them as individuals. Even if a person is a twin or triplet, they have a unique, special quality that no other human being has.
You can point out unique individuals who have made it big — maybe because they were unique. Some people are flamboyant, others are funny, and some have great musical gifts; the list can go on and on. Being unique is not restricted to people who are in the arts. The ones involved in the arts may be the most visible and obvious examples, but others, who excel at sports or academics because they are following their unique gifts, are strong examples, as well.
It is important that you learn to tap into your own gifts and unique qualities. Part of raising children is letting them try different activities because this may be how they discover what they truly enjoy doing. Some kids know from a very early age what drives them and what they want to do in life. Most kids don’t learn so quickly, and that’s okay. By exposing them to a variety of situations, classes, events, and cultures, they will be able to discern what feels good for them and what does not.
When you allow your children to discover what they enjoy doing, they will learn to trust their Internal Guidance System (IGS). This is a great gift that you give your children because their IGS will be with them for their entire life. By learning to listen to their Internal Guidance System and trust in them, they will be guided to do things that give them pleasure.
This isn’t about competition. It is about helping your kids to find what they are best suited for. This can include education and career, but it can also include extracurricular activities. Show them that they don’t have to be better than anyone else at something, as long as they enjoy it. The more they enjoy an activity and the more they practice it, the better they will become at it.
Whether your children play musical instruments, like to draw, or are drawn to academics or computers, encourage them to be true to their inner selves — even if their interests are “different” from those of their classmates and friends. That uniqueness may be just the thing they need to blossom into the independent and happy adults they are meant to be. A parent couldn’t ask for more.
Please feel free to comment.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.