Here it is, the second part of 25+ Lessons to Teach Your Children. Let me tell you, by the time you get to 25 you may be wishing there wasn’t a “+” there! I separated these lessons from the others because, to be honest, they’re harder. They aren’t difficult because they’re hard to teach. They’re difficult because many of us still haven’t learned them ourselves! This is the part of parenting that results in incredible personal transformation. It might be challenging but it’s SO worthwhile!
If you want your children to have more than just the practical skills to survive as an adult, these are all musts! These are the lessons they need to learn to thrive, to create joy, contentment and a growth mindset and to achieve their biggest goals in life!
15. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Self-Love
You are NOT the greatest source of love, acceptance and validation for your child! They are! You ARE the greatest source of love, acceptance and validation for yourself… do you act that way???
This is probably the area I struggled with the most as a parent. I love all 5 of my kids to the ends of the earth (and I’m sure you feel the same). So, I was busily nurturing and caring for them and working incredibly hard at raising them well & right, happy & healthy. I became a human doing and stopped being a human being let alone a human being loved and prioritized by myself!
This didn’t set the example for my children that they should love themselves. It set the example that they should prioritize others and look for love outside themselves! Don’t make this mistake! It’s not easy to unravel later!
So… do your affirmations and teach your kids to do their own! Practice self-care and put it on the family schedule that everyone does their own self-care thing! Praise yourself in front of your kids. Shower yourself with encouragement within their earshot! Loving yourself doesn’t take from them, it sets an excellent example. It fortifies them!
16. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Ask for Help
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a brave and courageous thing to do! (Another thing I’ve recently realized). Ask your children and others for help and encourage them to ask for help as well. It can be extra beneficial to assist them in evaluating who might be most equipped to help them. For example, if they need help with chemistry it might be best to ask a family member who excels at it, a teacher or a tutor. It probably isn’t as effective to ask their younger sister or even their uncle who’s a poet.
Remind your children that everyone has gifts and talents. Finding them is a beautiful treasure hunt! Once you know what they are you know exactly who to go to when you need assistance. And here’s a super cool thing… people LOVE to help, especially when they are being recognized for their gifts!
It’s important to do what you can and get help when you need it. You aren’t a burden. People appreciate the opportunity to help others. It helps to build community and brings us closer. And it conveys humility which is both endearing and a virtue.
I’m sure this one is pretty obvious but, make sure your children always know that you are there for them and happy to help. Not take over… help! Just knowing you aren’t alone in a situation, that help is only a phone call away, can make all the difference in the world!
17. Lessons to Teach Your Children:Winning & Losing
I’m sure we’ve all thought of sore losers and poor sports but it’s also possible to be an inappropriate winner. In life we will experience both wins and losses. Knowing how to handle both can drastically impact our perception of ourselves and our interactions with others.
When we accomplish something, we are proud of or win a game or competition it’s natural to swell with pride. This isn’t something to feel badly about and it doesn’t have to be tamped down. Understanding that it’s important to have sensitivity towards others who may be struggling is very helpful but that doesn’t mean you have to downplay your accomplishment. There’s a big difference between an “in your face… I win you lose” behavior and an “I’m really proud of myself” attitude. You can graciously thank your opponent and then celebrate with your loved ones. You don’t need to downplay your performance. Saying things like “oh, it was just beginners’ luck” tends to make the other person feel worse not better.
Sharing Your Wins
Likewise, when we have a big win in our lives and those around us are struggling it can be difficult. Help your children to know how to tell who will be encouraged by news like this and who will be minimizing, negative, and jealous. Teach them to share their wins with those who will celebrate them, not one up or be envious. This is another quality to consider when choosing friends!
Coping With Your Losses
And of course, since life often hands us lemons and losses, teach them to lose gracefully too. Teach them to congratulate their opponent and to be happy for the successes of others. I’ve found that the 2 biggest factors in the ability to rebound well from a loss are comparison and envy. As in, avoid both like the plague! It’s important to understand that we shouldn’t compare ourselves with others because we really have NO idea what someone else’s situation is. We only know our perception of it and appearances can be deceiving! The only person you are trying to beat is yesterday’s you!
The Beginning of an Abundance Mindset
With regard to envy, teach through your words and actions. Use this simple approach, “I am in the same line of blessing (abundance) as they are”. When something great happens for someone else rejoice in the fact that you know that this greatness exists, and you can have it too! This is the key to creating and maintaining an abundance mindset!
I’ve never had a single person say to me “it’s not fair that you met and married your soulmate” instead they often say “that gives me hope that I can find mine and have the happiness you have too”. When you think of it that way it makes a HUGE difference. Oh, and by the way… always look for people with this view to share your wins with! They will be inspired, motivated and genuinely happy for you!
18. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Perfection is the Plague
Perfection is unattainable and will steal your joy! Avoid perfectionism as if it’s the plague because, well, it is! It will keep you from setting attainable goals and paralyze you into inaction. It permeates every area of your life and undermines all your other values! Don’t get stuck in the rut that is perfectionism.
Instead do your very best and be content to suck sometimes. Choose to be a lifelong learner rather than a master of all things. Know that there isn’t a single person alive who is perfect at anything! Practice doesn’t make perfect… it makes progress… it makes improvement! There is no such thing as perfection so let go of that standard. Celebrate the small wins rather than bemoaning small set backs!
19. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Fear
Don’t let fear hold you back! It’s natural to experience fear or stress when you’re at a crossroads, facing the unknown or making a change. That doesn’t mean you should stop, turn tail and run! It just means you’re scared and now you need to figure out what to do with that fear.
Firstly, evaluate if that fear is real! Are you truly in danger in some way? Whether you intuitively know or logically do, actual danger should be avoided. Don’t ignore fear that’s warning you of impending catastrophe.
More commonly the fear we experience though is that of the unknown. Fear of failure, success, or of other’s opinions often hold us back and keep us from being our very best selves. Face those fears head on and overcome them. Set the example for your children that courage and bravery aren’t the absence of fear but the ability to work through it.
Encourage your children to try new things, to go out on a limb and celebrate that! They don’t have to make the team or get the lead role in the school play to celebrate! The win is putting themselves out there, being brave and facing down their fears! That habit will lead to the life they’ve dreamed of!
20. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Rejection & Failure
Your child WILL be rejected and fail at some point in their lives (or at least they’ll feel like they are). The only way this won’t happen is if they play small. And I don’t know anyone who wants their kid to do that! So, let them get rejected and let them fail!
This can be very difficult because the truth is many of us don’t handle rejection or failure well so we’re fearful of our kids having to deal with it. If you’re one of those people I challenge you to go for something big and fail or get yourself rejected! Sometimes the best way to teach something is by example! You need to genuinely understand that rejection and failure aren’t personal and can be an amazing opportunity to learn and grow.
Unfortunately, people often feel so shattered by rejection that they fail to see the big picture and take the opportunity to improve. They instead quit! Don’t be one of those people and don’t let your children do that either. Show them how to ask for and apply feedback. Teach them not to take it personally. Help them celebrate their rejections and failures as evidence that they are going after their dreams!
I recently started a failure and rejection goal for myself! I’ve found that it helps me keep things in perspective. I’m trying to push myself to break out of my comfort zone and go after some pretty big dreams. This is sure to lead to rejection and failure! So, why not make a game of it? If I’m really going after what I want, I should fail (or be rejected) at least 3 times a month. Are you going after a big goal or dream? Why not set a rejection and failure goal for yourself?
22. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Appearances
It’s very important to know that very often appearances are not real at all! It’s also very important to teach your children to always value substance over appearance.
For some odd reason (maybe we should blame Instagram) people are placing an extremely high value on appearance. There is far more concern about what things look like than what they are. While women have been struggling for years to break free of being judged by appearance it seems we’ve gone in the opposite direction and now everyone wants to be be judged soley on it! People’s perfect houses, marriages, lives and children are not so perfect. We all face our share of challenges and struggles. We all have our burdens to carry.
It’s so important to build a life of substance. Create relationships that matter. Work on who you are on the inside. Choose a partner based on compatibility rather than chemistry or what a cute couple you are in pictures. And it’s imperative to live below your means whenever possible.
Many people are very busy keeping up appearances and this practice is actually destroying their lives. They are in debt or financial crisis. In conflict or marital crisis and not creating a firm foundation for their children’s happiness. Set a better example for them. Buck the trend. Be honest. Drop the façade! And for goodness sake if you’ve been using your kids as props for your perfect Insta feed… knock it off!
23. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Conscious Consumerism
I don’t know if you’ve heard but money talks! Especially in a capitalist economy! If you don’t like the policy of a company don’t shop there! Care about environmental or humanitarian issues? Patronize companies whose values align with yours! As a society we need to stop with the “shopping hauls”. No matter what we’re seeing on YouTube. This is irresponsible behavior!
Not only is conscious consumerism important because of the pressure it puts on companies to change their practices and policies but it’s also important because it’s in opposition to mass consumerism which has been a growing trend. Mass consumerism leads to debt and financial ruin and often puts a dangerous strain on relationships.
Never forget, you can’t fill your heart with stuff!
24. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Community
Everyone is part of some sort of community! Whether you live in a big city or small town. And on a large scale we are all part of the global community.
Be sure that your child feels connected to their community. They should feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves and have a responsibility to it. Encourage your children to participate in volunteer activities and to do things in their community without seeking payment or reward simply for the betterment of all.
Feeling a sense of connection gives people a source of security and accountability. It helps people to make better choices and consider the greater good. This minimizes impulsivity and selfishness. It also helps build self-esteem and a sense of personal pride.
For as long as your child lives, they will be part of a larger society and it is much easier if they feel connected at a young age! Set a good example by being involved in your community and having them join you. Point out opportunities to be a good citizen and even a good global citizen. Things as simple as not walking past a piece of trash in the park but instead picking it up and tossing it help to set the example that we are all connected and should look out for and help one another! It might not be your trash, but it is your park, it is your neighborhood and it is your planet!
25. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Asking for What You Want
If you don’t ask the answer is always no! That goes for doing things you haven’t asked permission for and it also goes for getting what you want! This is a pretty universal life truth! Encourage your kids to ask for what they feel they’ve earned or deserve. And to ask for privileges & opportunities they want. If the answer is no, remind them to ask why. Then give them one opportunity to address that why.
This can be a real pain! But it helps children learn to go after what they want and to be bold. It also helps them learn to do it in a respectful non-argumentative way (since you’ll coach them through that). It makes them feel heard and validated and helps with the development of problem-solving skills.
When our oldest son wanted to join a second sport, he was told that there was just no way. He exercised his “one why & rebuttal”. I explained that there were 2 concerns. First, it was a lot on our family to be responsible for going to practices every night (he has 4 younger siblings). Second, I wanted him to have more free time to play with his friends unsupervised. He then told me that all his friends had joined this second team (which was likely in our small community) and that since practice was only 2 blocks away, he could ride his bike there & back.
Because he made a calm, well thought out argument and was responsible enough to be given one of our cell phones to call when he arrived and was leaving, we allowed this. All went well. It wasn’t just an opportunity for him to present his case in a calm, well thought out way & build problem solving skills. It was also an opportunity to take on more responsibilities, earn more privileges and expand our trust in him.
26. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Resilience & Persistence
If there’s one thing we need to have to accomplish our goals and make our dreams a reality, this is it! We all want our children to be successful and happy and to have everything they want in life. The problem is that we often think the way to make this happen is to give it to them! This just doesn’t work in the long run!
When you give your kids everything they want you prevent them from building resilience and persistence. And as young as school age you’re going to start losing the ability to intervene on their behalf. They will be expected to go to their teachers for extra help or to talk about instructions for a project their working on. When they have a job, they’ll be responsible for dealing with irritable co-workers and bosses and sometimes frustrating company policies. Plus, there are the everyday struggles they’re going to face.
The need to build resilience and persistence is tremendous. Especially for people you hope will be exceptional and live exceptional lives! That doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and commitment and often a significant amount of struggle.
Having a track record of overcoming challenges is the most important factor in facing future difficulty. When you know you’ve done it before it’s a lot easier to believe that you can do it again! So, let your children struggle! Cheer them on and encourage them to learn, find a solution and continue on! Remind them of the many times they’ve shown resilience and persistence and how it payed off. Don’t discount or minimize any example of this! From birth they’ve been showing you their incredible resilience. They didn’t roll over, walk or talk the first time they tried but they didn’t give up either!
27. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Planning for the Future and Goal Setting
Things don’t just happen, and people don’t just get lucky!
Anything you want in life will require work and intention. Understanding how to set reasonable, measurable goals and track them is imperative to success. And in order to make this map you need to know where you’re going. Not where you want to be for the rest of your life, just where you want to go next.
Be very honest that no one has it all figured out and they don’t have to either. All they need to do is set small goals and do everything they can to make sure the door of opportunity stays open. Getting the best grades they can throughout school provides more options and lessons than slacking. Working hard and cultivating their talents keeps that door open as well. And so does making healthy choices about relationships and high risk behaviors like breaking the law and substance abuse.
Help your kids discover their big audacious dreams and chart a course to achieve them! Don’t leave it up to chance.
28. Lessons to Teach Your Children: Be Weird
Every single person on the planet is weird. We all have odd, unique little quirts that make us authentically ourselves. Rather than forcing yourself to conform choose weird! Choose it every single chance you get!
You’ll waste a lot less time trying to find yourself if you don’t lose yourself in the first place! Be confident in who you are and the gifts you have to offer. Cultivate an appreciation of quirk. Point out the odd little things you love about others and each other. Talk about your own uniqueness and your struggles to accept it. And if you were a conformer discuss how challenging it is to come back from that.
I love all things odd. It’s enabled me to be authentic and chase my dreams (even when other’s thought they were crazy). Making space for each of my 5 children to be their quirky selves took some effort. None of them are even remotely similar and all required different types of guidance growing up. We could rarely drive more than 1 kid to the same activity because their interests and talents were so varied.
The world will try to strip the weird away. Don’t let that happen or you’ll be spending your whole life feeling like an imposter and trying to find it again! Be weird, encourage your kids to be their weird quirky selves! Show up in the world authentically! It’s the key to peace, contentment and joy! You can hardly enjoy life if you’re trying to keep up your façade!
The Hard Lessons
How can you teach these hard lessons to your kids when you struggle with them yourself? Well, this is your opportunity to grow! Being a parent is tough! It’s challenging in so many ways. And yes, it’s rewarding too! You may not have realized going in that the biggest challenge and reward would be in becoming your best self so you could pave the way for your kids to be the same. That might be the biggest parenting secret ever! Here’s the thing though… you CAN do this! And not only will your kids have a brighter future because of it, but you will too!!!
Tell me your favorite lesson in the comments below!
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