No matter what part of the world you live in or how old or wise you are, there is always a new challenge to face. This goes for all of us, including our children.
How often in your household do you hear “it’s the teacher’s fault,” or “it’s all your fault,” or some reference to it being a sibling’s fault? My guess is pretty often. Sometimes it can seem as if everything happens to our kids and they never, ever have a choice in the matter. Or so they think, and so they tell us. How can we help our children recognize their power, take responsibility and not fall into a victim consciousness?
We all know that challenges (both big ones and small ones) trigger the nagging inner voice that tells us we cannot overcome, we will never succeed, or life is simply not fair. But the more we face our challenges and look for the lessons in them, the stronger we get and the more capacity we gain.
To help our children understand this concept, we can use the analogy of a game in which we need to play against an opponent. We can’t play basketball tournament unless there is another team we are playing against, or win the next level in a computer game without being challenged by the computer system. Is it always fun, smooth and easy? Not at all. We have to focus and make an effort.
Helping our children look at each challenge as a growth opportunity will help them feel less frightened and stressed out, and instead more consciously prepared.
In the game of life, the opponent is mainly internal. Although it looks like all the challenges are external, the real battle is within. We are being challenged with difficult emotions that usually trigger reactive actions. Teaching our children to stop before reacting and to take a step back and look within on what they are feeling and how best to react is true empowerment. And when we own our power to choose our responses to life, there is no room for blame.
When my daughter becomes upset about something she didn’t get or that something didn’t go her way, she usually turns sad. I often tell her, “I understand how you feel, but know that you have the choice to feel this way or not. It is up to you.” This simple advice puts the power back in her hands, making her understand that her reactions and emotions are her choice. She is the only person who can change how she feels or how she acts on her feelings.
Confronting challenges with this consciousness empowers kids to face their difficulties and helps them end the dynamic of blaming others. They understand that it’s not the parent or teacher or sibling who stops their happiness. Parents may punish, and teachers may scold, but how our kids are going to feel and react to situations is entirely up to them.
We cannot promise our children a life without challenges, but we can help them have a better attitude towards it.
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