It’s crucial that parents understand the ways in which they influence their children. As parents respond to the world, the events, and the people around them, they are actively influencing their children to behave similarly.
While taking deliberate and planned moments to teach or impart something important to your child is wonderful, it’s equally vital that parents understand that they are teaching and imparting coping strategies, values and priorities at all times simply by living.
I’m not suggesting that parents be perfect. I am suggesting that if parents take the time to identify the areas in which their own parents may have influenced them in limiting or no longer useful ways, they will be role modelling from a place of intention and self awareness.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to start the process of noticing how you might be influencing your child’s behaviour (depending on how you answer, the parenthesis suggest possible messages with which you are influencing your child)*:
What types of things do you say when something scary or worrisome happens?
(The world is a dangerous place. I cannot handle the things that happen to me. When you take risks, bad things happen. It’s better to play it safe. There are a lot of bad people in the world. The world is a scary place.)
Do you complain about people, co-workers, friends, relatives?
(People will let you down. People don’t do as they say they will. People don’t respect me. I’m not worthy of people’s respect. The work force is terrible. I am at other people’s mercy. I’m not in control of my own livelihood or happiness.)
Do you berate yourself (out loud, under your breath or even energetically) when things don’t work out or you make a mistake?
(Things need to be perfect all the time. I can’t do anything right. I’m powerless over my environment. Things are never going to go my way. I cannot adapt to unforeseen situations. The world is out to get me.)
What types of things do you say when you are running late?
(If everything doesn’t go smoothly, I can’t cope. People need to make concessions so that I can get what I want. There’s never enough time. I can’t adjust to unforeseen happenings.)
What do you find yourself saying after a school recital or parent/teacher interview?
(Teachers don’t know what they’re talking about. Teachers don’t understand me or my family. Teachers know best, no matter what. I don’t like your teacher. The best you can do in school is survive. School is somewhere to kill time until you don’t have to go any more.)
*Please note that I’ve chosen to highlight messages that you may be sending your child unintentionally, along with messages that are maladaptive and don’t benefit your child (or you!).
Depending on how you answered these questions, you may also be influencing your child in a very empowering and skill building manner, and that is fantastic!
If you’d like to explore how to deliver positive and beneficial messages to your child, or address maladaptive stories that your kids may have adopted through hypnotherapy, I’d love to meet you and talk about it. Please book a free consultation, and let’s explore.