I was recently asked this question, “do you have any idea what your children will be when they grow up?”
My response was no, I don’t want to impart my ideas or expectations onto my daughter or son. I want them to choose for themselves.
I didn’t name my children before they were born because in the same way, I wanted them to tell me. I wanted to meet them first and their names would come. Soleil came to me as I held her in my hands in the dead of winter as Soleil means sun, and my son’s name Hero came to us a week after he was born.
Automatically we think of a name or a job role and see a person through our own experiences/desires/wishes, but this doesn’t give freedom to the child. It creates a constraint or a box for them to live up to our expectations, which is why many children feel like they failed their parents.
What I want to give my children, is the ability to choose and I teach this early on.
I will of course gently guide them and will help my children create their own moral compass. My husband and I will educate them as best as we can, without passing on our own judgements or ancestral trauma, allowing them to be free. Instead of giving them a carved out path with a detailed road map, we’ll give them the skills and confidence to grow into the man and woman they truly want to be.
For example, I rarely say no or yes to my children. I will give them the option to choose by presenting them with the facts. If we’re in a public restaurant and my daughter says she’d like to climb on the wall, I’ll ask her, “does it look safe? Could you hurt yourself? Is anyone else climbing on the wall?”
This gives her the space to make her own decisions and come to her own conclusions.
I am teaching Soleil how to think for herself, not how to break mummy’s rules. If you say to a child ‘no, you can’t climb on that,’ most likely they will do it just to test boundaries and it will lead to you pulling them off the wall, the child crying, and everyone feeling distressed.
When you can calmly give a child the choice, they’ll respond in the same way. It can be as simple as:
“Mummy I want to climb on the stairs.”
“Is the stair gate open?”
“Ok shall we do it later when it is open and we’re together?”
It instantly stops any conflict or battles.
If you can teach them how to choose and think for themselves at a young age, they’ll be so capable of making the right decisions when they’re older.
Should I get in the car if someone is drunk driving?
Should I do a course I love, or a course all my friends are doing?
Does this make me feel happy, or sad?
As I watch my children and I see their wonderful strengths and qualities, I’ve realised the best way I can support them is to nurture the sides of them that need a little help to grow.
My two-year-old son Hero, loves to play at being a wild animal. His favourite at the moment is a growling tiger, usually with our new puppy. We love and celebrate his animal playfulness but we also put music on and dance. This allows him to soften through interpretive movement, allowing this calmer side of him to be nurtured as well.
When you empower your child to make decisions and when you let them authentically express themselves you’re nourishing their soul.
Think back to when you were a child, how different would you feel about your parents if they gave you the freedom and love to simply be and choose?