Where do beliefs come from? Why do they differ with each person? How come they have the power to create and destroy? I stumbled upon the answers to these questions in my mid-twenties, during the most difficult period of my life.
It was a time of self-discovery. A time of constant questioning, why? And a time of significant transformations. Awareness and consciousness. My obtained beliefs were legitimized by the experiences I had created and shockingly enough had the power to create a life I adored or a life that I dreaded.
Some of my beliefs served me well. My empowering beliefs. Beliefs that brought out the best in me. Others stopped me from doing, saying and choosing things that I should have. My limiting beliefs. My fears, my can’t and my excuses.
I was blessed with a son in my early thirties. By then I was conscious. I was aware. I was worried. How do I break the cycle and arm him with a set of empowering beliefs? One that would take him through life courageously, confidently and passionately! One that would make use of his full potential.
Do you share the same worries?
I am a Primary School Teacher, and even though my Master’s Degree in Education comes in handy, it takes more than that to do the trick. It takes a new age of positive parenting and 4 major habits I tailored into my life.
1. OVERCOME FEARS
Your child may be the Subject of importance here, but really, you are the Object. I had to face my fear of rejection. The fear of asking others for help and the fear of being judged as a result.
The power was in a choice I made.
I caught myself in the act and anytime I needed help, I asked. I chose to see rejection from a different perspective. I chose to see rejection as a blessing. It simply meant I wasn’t ready yet, that the offer wasn’t for me or something better was coming my way.
I claimed my power back with that simple choice.
How does that apply to my son?
In every way. Overcoming my fears, I shall not plant their seeds into his head for I have conquered my own. Instead I shall encourage him to ask without fear of judgment, to question his doubts and to understand rejection is no curse at all.
These are all beliefs. Empowering beliefs I shall pass down.
Take a minute to think of what fears you must overcome for the sake of your child.
2. CREATE YOUR OWN STANDARDS?
As a primary school teacher, I know grading children according to fixed standards, using teaching methods according to School Policies and standard testing for all can be overwhelming for our young ones and have the tendency to create self-limiting beliefs in a child.
It is like asking an elephant, a fish and a wolf to climb an oak tree.
Get the picture?
As much as the monkey, the cat and the bear may flourish and boost their confidence, others are made to believe, they can’t. They are made to believe they aren’t good enough and most sadly, usually apply that belief into other areas of their life right into adulthood.
What can you do as a parent?
Your child may be struggling to keep up with the fixed standards of the class, the group or society for that matter. Remember, the problem may not necessarily lie in your child’s ability, but in the system which wasn’t created for everyone to fit into.
Support and do not judge when they come home with low grades. Do not force them to fit into standards created by others, but encourage them to become the best version of themselves and do the best that they can. There are no fixed standard for that.
They could be that great elephant, that swift fish or that energetic wolf, who despite their abilities, will find great difficulty in climbing that oak tree. Know that every child has a talent, including yours. Discover your child’s strengths and nurture them. Show them that they are enough.
Planting an empowering belief that “I am enough!” and “I do have the ability!” equips them with a growth mindset for the future.
A sense of well-being and acceptance is embedded into their hearts.
3. PLACE VALUE IN LITTLE THINGS
There was an 8 year old boy I once had in my class. Every day, he would come to school beaming. He greeted with the biggest smile and he answered questions delightfully. He had love written all over his face, it was infectious!
Just like I had suspected, I found out it was to do with something that happened each morning before school and in the evening, after school.
Wake your child up with the sweet words and kisses. Tell him how much you missed him over the night and of what a beautiful day it is going to be and how you would love to hear of all the great things he did at school when he gets back home.
Have breakfast together as a family, give thanks for this new day, reminding of how much you love him just the way he is.
Have supper by the table, talk about the good things that happened that day, what challenges they faced and most importantly, how they are going to make tomorrow a better one!
The 8 year old boy didn’t come from a well off family. He had hard-working parents who faced their share of life’s challenges. The secret was in positive affirmations, not only through words, but through simple actions of love and assurance.
How is your child woken up in the morning?
4. CHALLENGE WITH QUESTIONS
“If you want to be successful in life, you must have good grades.”
“How are you going to get a good job with such low grades?”
These were the words of a fellow teacher that was talking to his class about their performance.
These words rang in my head as I remembered how some of my teachers sang the same song.
My grades weren’t amongst the strongest. Would that mean I wasn’t going to be successful in life? As a young child, that became my belief, so I settled for less.
Do you want your child to grow up with such a belief?
It may seem true when thinking in the box, but it was building a fixed mindset instead of a growth mindset. A mindset which made a young mind believe success was meant only for smart kids.
But how can we identify such self-limiting beliefs in our child and prevent them from deepening?
By challenging them with questions.
Questions that require you to think outside the box. Questions that tap into the inner-built resource of awareness, consciousness and instinct. Questions that help you the parent locate the self-limiting belief that needs addressing.
If you had any job in the world, what would that be? What will you have to do to get that job? Apart from your grades, what else is equally important to be successful. What is success? Could you create your own job? How?
What qualities must you have to achieve your goal? Do you think people are automatically good or bad at something?
Have you always been good at the things you can do now (eg. football, swimming, walking, dancing, reading etc)?
Is it okay to fail at something? What does failure mean to you? What would you tell a friend who failed at something he tried to do?
Look out for the patterns in your child’s answers. Are they self-limiting or empowering. Do they portray a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?
Having these spontaneous discussions gives you a chance to bond with your child, empower and enlighten where necessary, arming them with a set of tools that show that the only limitations are the ones we create for ourselves in our minds.
Beliefs are the fundamental building blocks we use to create our reality. Gone are the days where parents’ main worry was to ensure their children got “good jobs” to succeed in life. We now want our children to have a satisfying life lived to their full potential. How can they do this with a set of beliefs that limit and cripple?