(as published on HuffPost UK today)
The power of love transforms your children and shapes their experiences now and in the future.
Little people are “meaning-making machines” (thanks Vishen Lakhiani for this awesome and perfect term).
The first seven years plays an important role in our life…
“The most influential perceptual programming of the subconscious mind occurs from birth through age six. By observing the behavioral patterns of people in their immediate environment—primarily parents, siblings, and relatives—children learn to distinguish acceptable and unacceptable social behaviors. It’s important to realize that perceptions acquired before the age of six become the fundamental subconscious programs that shape the character of an individual’s life.”
– Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D.
Children create meaning out of everything which impacts how they see the world and how they see themselves. For example, when they experience the feeling of rejection this hurts and they create a meaning from that experience, which could be “I’m not loved” or “I’m not loveable” or “I’m not enough”.
As parents we cannot take all responsibility all the time for the meaning our children create from everything they experience, but we can support them to feel loved and to create more feelings of love in their life.
Vishen Lakhiani in “The Code of the Extraordinary mind” speaks about helping our kids to create more positive frames of reference and shutting down the negative meaning making as quickly as possible. His suggestion is to have a daily practice of encouraging our children share “what they loved about themselves today”.
As a coach and parent I have a deep understanding about our words and language and how this shapes the meaning children (and adults) create from their experiences. Our words are powerful!
In our house we have already started “What I loved about myself today” as part of our evening gratitude when we sit at the table for dinner. Although our daughter is under 12 months we know how important it is to create positive habits, and the best time to start them in now. We also know children are always learning, and modelling positive behaviours is critical.
The reason we have started this daily practice now is because we don’t want to wait until something is “broken” or “damaged” before we repair or fix it. I do not understand why as a society we always need to wait until something is damaged or broken before we make changes?
… We have to be sick or overweight before eating healthy…
… Our relationships have to be falling apart before we take action to re-connect…
We don’t operate that way in our home. We choose to create powerful and positive habits for our family now. This also ensures we are growing towards what we want more of in our lives – more health, more happiness, more vitality, more joy, more abundance…
We also know how important it is to have a healthy love for ourselves.
Creating good habits for ourselves now will impact how we parent and how our children learn. When they see us loving ourselves and acknowledging that love in a safe environment, they too will grow to understand that it is ok to love and be kind to themselves.
I believe what the world needs more of is children who feel loved and valued. Imagine a world where these children grow to become the leaders of the future and are equipped with love, compassion, gratitude, kindness, empathy and joy and are equipped to handle what the world throws at them.
Plus… when we love ourselves we don’t need to seek it from others, and our relationships become healthier and happier.
And, as a parent, don’t we all want our children to have a healthy and loving relationship with themselves and with others?
Of course we do…
Therefore, to help our children to have a healthy self-love, first we must begin by modelling and showing a healthy love for ourselves.