The last one is understanding what your children’s core values are.
And you might say, “Come on Ro, I mean I am a grown up and I’m struggling with that, how can I sort out my own kids’ values?”
Every person has a set of values that we live by no matter what stage in our lives we are at.
The way you determine that is essentially by how a person shows up in the world.
I’m not going to go into a whole values exercise, but essentially if somebody values health a lot, they’ll say no to food that’s shitty or not good for them. Or say no to a cigarette or say no to certain sugary foods for example. It won’t be good for their body.
Whereas somebody that doesn’t value health at the top will go, “Yeah I’m young and healthy.” But then they go out and drink and eat all sorts of crap. And actually, the way they’re showing up in the world does not reflect what they’re saying.
So the true core values come through very quickly. Loyalty, commitment, honesty, integrity all of these things.
So with children it’s the same thing. Now what you’ve got to try and do is understand where their values are. So, for example, I see parents trying to push their kids to do certain things.
I see people push their kids to do certain things, “Come on Johnny, you’ve got to climb this tree. Go and do that zip wire there, go and do all of this stuff.”
But if your children’s core values are more security driven, in other words they’re a little more cautious, and that moment in time they have values that are more grounded.
I.e. they want to feel safer and actually, you are pushing them against those core values, it’s one thing to stretch them and I think we all need to be doing that with our children.
But being aware actually at this moment in time my child values this more than they value that. So, for example, they may value privacy.
You might be trying to get them into groups, “Come on let’s go to this playgroup, let’s do this. I want you to do a piano lesson, I want you to go to a dance lesson. Let’s go to this social group here and there’s another gathering over there.”
And for four days a week straight after school you’ve got your kids going out doing this and this and this and you’re knackering them out. They’re almost doing the same as a working day for an adult.
Think about that for a minute.
Again a personal opinion parents may do that because their values are got to have lots of variety, got to keep up with the Joneses, don’t want to miss out on these things, let’s pump my kids with all these things.
But what if your child is getting exhausted?
What if they value downtime?
A chance to breathe out as we call it at my daughters’ school.
What if they value the opportunity just to rest, recuperate, process and this is another challenge. The children need time to process.
So if they have a long intensive day at school, come out at 3:30PM and suddenly you put them into two hours of extracurricular activity.
When do they get to process?
They come home, right, get ready, get washed up, time for dinner, right let’s read a book and bedtime.
Okay, so when has a child had a chance to just be a child at that moment in time?
I guess what I’m saying is think about what your children value. If they’re saying to you, “I don’t want to do this, I just want some time to go and do a jigsaw, stay at home and play in the garden.”
“No you need to come and do this activity.”
What if your child that moment in their life needs and values a sense of peace?
A chance to process unconsciously?
So it’s about listening and that’s one example but you’ve got to tune into this. And this is why if you can understand values and how they work and your own set of values, and your own mindset and make up of who you are as a person, you start to see that in your kids as well.
And all children are different.
If I look at both my kids they’re very different in the way they are in the world. So one is a little bit more earth and the other is a lot more fire.
So the earth child is happy sometimes just to be in a moment doing what she’s doing, without necessarily having to interact with lots of people. Whereas the other one is out rushing around, doing lots of things, playing and just boom straight in there.
I can’t try to match one with the other, or force one to be a certain way because now I’m understanding their core values and who they’re as people.
I’m allowing them to have that space. That is not to say that I don’t want to bring certain important values into the family, but that’s another conversation that can be done.
But at this stage the problem we have as parents is that we try to force our beliefs and values into these little beings not always at the right time. And again, that’s for you to judge. I can’t make that judgement.
But I know within my family, myself and my lovely lady, we have become more aware of that.
So, “What do you mean by that? When you say that, what does that actually mean?”
Because we might be putting our interpretation on it.
The third thing is to see if you can get a sense of their values and help them grow in those areas.
And if you’re wanting to help them understand or develop a really good quality value, help them understand why that is. So for example, my eldest daughter, I’m slowly helping her understand the value of how money can be handled in a sensible way and I’m doing that through stories. I find stories that work best with her and a basic money management system.
So she is starting to value what it means to have this much money and how she can distribute it to save it. Instead of me just going there’s the money, you should do this with it, you should do this with it and stick some of that over there.
“Yeah but why daddy?”
So it’s finding a way to articulate it in a way that they can relate to it as well.
It’s Dr Ro, signing out on some hacks on how to be a great parent.
I shall see you at some point either on Seekardo or on one of my other videos.