The work of raising authentic kids is one of the greatest contributions we make to the world in which we live.
When I became a parent, one of the most important things to me was that my son would have the confidence and self-awareness to be himself—his most authentic self. The goal of being authentic in one’s life has been popular in recent years, with many coaches aiming to help adults discover their “true” self by peeling back layers of fears and self-limiting beliefs.
With regard to parenting–our children are born “authentic”. They haven’t yet learned any of the subconscious beliefs and habits that limit them.
One of the challenges for parents who are committed to pursuing authenticity for themselves and their kids is knowing the difference between teaching socially acceptable behaviour vs letting them “express authentically”.
How can we know the difference?
When do we insist that they behave differently, even if they’re resisting strongly? And when do we recognize that their behaviour is an expression of their authentic self and stretch ourselves to recognize and deal with our own anxiety about their behaviour?
We tend to view their behaviour through the lens of what we learned (consciously and subconsciously) growing up. That can make it difficult to have clarity about when we need to teach proper behaviour, vs when to *allow* their authentic self to thrive and emerge.
A couple of tips to help you gain clarity, if you’re trying to change your child’s behaviour and they’re resisting:
· If safety is an issue, (obviously), you create safety
· Do you have anxiety about their behaviour because of a past belief that is no longer relevant?
The truth is: Some of their “problem” behaviours are potential *prompts* for us, that can awaken us to become more of our authentic selves, if we’re willing/able to be curious about them.
Connecting with our body and noticing our emotions and sensation responses to their behaviour with curiosity and compassion can help us to gain some clarity, and to gain insight to the places in which we’ve abandoned our own authenticity, and may be inadvertently trying to shut theirs down.
In my experience, it’s a journey of curiosity and learning on your life path together that helps both parent and child become more authentic.