7 Ways to Parent Self-Awareness in Your Children:

1. Be a Positive Role Model: In order to parent self-awareness you have to have it yourself.  Demonstrate through your own behaviors that you can calm your anxieties and frustrations and not act out in a negative way. If you have a moment of being reactive show you can call a time-out on yourself and get centered again.

2. Receive Your Child’s Feelings: Emotions are emotions. If we accept and acknowledge what our children are feeling, the emotions pass through much quicker. Taking this time to sit with them and their feelings helps them to not act them out in a negative way. Receive what they share and seek to understand life from their view-point, and then, if possible, spin them in a positive light.

3. Empathize: Your empathy teaches them that their emotional life is not threatening, abnormal or scary. Their emotions are not shameful or defective. They are human and manageable. In this way you teach your children they are not alone. This helps them see that even the less-than- perfect parts of themselves are acceptable, which helps them to accept themselves and others more completely.

4. Encourage Growth: Emotions may be uncomfortable but never minimize them to your children or tell them to “get over it.” They may not be ready to move on and it is important for them to learn to navigate the uncomfortable. Teach them that whatever they avoid now will return in the form of a similar and harder lesson, so they may as well do their learning now.

5. Encourage Expression: Repressing feelings doesn’t work. When we reject or ignore their emotions this causes them to repress, which leads to more severe and chronic emotional problems all throughout life. Let them express freely.

6. Seek Understanding: Actively listen. You do not have to agree with what your children say or feel but to argue against it doesn’t allow them to hear or know who they are as unique people. Accept their feelings, repeat them back to them for understanding, and listen. Show that you care and can see their point of view.

7. Teach Problem Solving: Emotions are the guides to problem solving. Sometimes kids problem-solve on their own. Ask them how they think they should handle the situation which is upsetting them. Other times they need your help to brainstorm, but resist the urge to handle the problem for them; that gives them the message you don’t have confidence in their ability to handle the problem on their own.

Little life message:  When a child is self-aware they are motivated from within, can direct themselves towards a goal and work through self-doubt.

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Sherrie Campbell DrGreene.com contributor

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