Our children desperately need to learn how to be compassionate with themselves. They are vulnerable to being hard on themselves because they are constantly learning new things, which involves lots of failure.
Teaching self-compassion is not self-pity, where we wallow in the shame of what we have done. It is not self-complacency, where we just accept where we are. Instead, it is the idea that we can be kind to ourselves when we fail and treat ourselves with the caring support we would give another who is struggling.
We want to teach our children the powerful message of self-compassion: The truth that I make mistakes, with the grace that understands I have worth and value, warts and all.
Our children are growing up in a divided world. Our society is not governed by the morals, manners and decency we grew up with. Society tells us that “anything goes and all is acceptable,” and we need to adjust and accept all views, regardless of our personal beliefs and values.
These negative messages and pressure come at our children from all sides — from school, friends, and social media. It is normal for them to want to be accepted and included by their friends and social groups. They need a way to be their own kind friend and advocate as they are subjected to hurtful words and opinions they don’t agree with. The reality is that our children will encounter people who disagree with them, and don’t like things about them for the rest of their lives. We need to equip them to handle and recover from the difficulties of life.
Practicing self-compassion helps our children do just this. Without it they are vulnerable to peer pressure and the opinions of others, and find it difficult to retain their own thoughts, feelings, and stand firm in their faith and convictions. Self-compassion helps them step back and be kind to themselves after going through a difficult situation. They are then able evaluate what they’ve been through and decide what they want to do about a given situation.
Applying self-compassion helps them handle their humanness and the situations they are in with empathy, concern, understanding and kindness. It also gives them the grace to accept, correct and let go of their mistakes.
Give Your Kids a Break teaches the skills of self-compassion while equipping parents to:
- Build a close relationship with their children
- Set healthy boundaries
- Get their kids to listen and cooperate
- Teach personal responsibility
- Help their children deal with their emotions in healthy ways
- Develop a friendship with themselves
- Show their kids how to think through, and handle tough situations
- Establish personal skills through chores, money management and family meetings
When kids practice self-compassion, they become more resilient, feel better about themselves, and have a greater ability to handle life’s problems.
What do you think your life would have been like if you were taught how to be compassionate with yourself as a child or teenager? What difference would it have made? What difference can it make now?
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