Did you know that you are responsible for a lot of what your child thinks is true?
I want all of us well-intentioned parents to question what we tell our kids. The stories we tell our kids, the ones that sound so altruistic, may not actually serve them.
Your kids are never too young to learn a few truths bombs:
Truth bomb #1: What other people think of you is none of your business
The next time you tell your kids to “smile or they won’t think you are nice”… please think again.
Every time you try to convince your kids to behave in a certain way in order to be liked, you are teaching them that they need to focus on managing someone else’s opinion of them.
Here’s the reality. We really don’t have a lot of control about what someone else thinks of us. My sister-in-law can’t stand me, even though I’m a peach. What gives? Thinking we can make other people like us fuels people pleasing behaviour.
What someone thinks of you, or your children, is on them, not on you or your child. You don’t really need to know. It isn’t really your business.
Your children can be friendly if they feel like it, but they don’t have to pretend. Empower you child to not need to be liked all the time. Let’s encourage them to show up as their authentic self.
Truth bomb #2: You are not responsible for other people’s feelings.
No matter what your child says or does, that doesn’t create someone else’s feelings. Other people’s thoughts create their feelings. That’s why some people will be offended regardless of what your child says to them.
I used to jump through hoops to try to make my sister-in-law smile. I used to walk on eggshells to keep my ex in a good mood. Guess what? It doesn’t work. No one has enough power to make someone else happy.
How someone else feels is always created by the thoughts they are having, not by your child’s actions. It is not your child’s job to keep their other parent happy. Let’s remind them that they don’t have to walk on eggshells because they are not responsible for anyone’s feelings.
Let’s do better
What we tell our kids matters. Let’s stop telling them “you don’t want to upset anyone”. Instead, let’s just encourage them to show up as the best version of themselves.
They don’t need to carry the emotional responsibility for anyone but themselves. This truth bomb applies to the parents as well.