We all want our children to be resilient but we don’t want them to suffer whilst achieving this resilience, unfortunately sometimes the two come comes hand in hand.
I wonder what that secret ingredient is. I have seen so many young people and even adults, that have had, what I would describe as, minor incidents happen to them, and they fall apart, often becoming depressed, suicidal, even turning to medication or drugs and alcohol to help uplift themselves. Then on the flip side, I have met people, of all ages, that have experienced horrific tragedies, but somehow find the strength and tenacity to soldier on and are able to overcome any challenge. These people seem able to never allow the world defeat them, no matter how hard it tries.
As a mum my instincts are to protect my children so they never have to endure any hardships, but is that the answer? It is instinct to want your children not to suffer as you did, so parents mollycoddle or try to shield their children from any hard experiences. For instance if you were bullied at school you certainly do not want your child to experience the pain that you endured, but we seem to forget that these hardships are what has made you who you are, they are perhaps what has given you the strength and resilience. Without them, without the trials and tribulations one suffers in life and the perseverance to overcome them, would the same people have the same strength? I know the fact that I was bullied as a child has now given me the courage to stand up to people that have tried to hurt and belittle me. So maybe if I protect my child too much am I eliminating the essential ingredient that is character building??
It is almost as if I have two voices inside. There is the Mamma Bear that will go to the ends of the Earth to protect my children. Then there is the professional who works with young people every day, encouraging them to take risks, put themselves “out there” and “cop it on the chin” and if they get hurt or fail know that it’s those very things in life that are your greatest teachers!!
So what does full potential mean?
To me it means balance. Balance between being present and understanding your children with no judgement, when they fail, you support them. Disciplining them when they have not followed your rules. Allowing your children to follow their own dreams not yours. Helping them choose what we believe is the safer path and what is the best for them, whilst at the same time advising them on all the choices they may have.
Encouraging them to realise that what their positive personality traits are and guiding them to enrich them. Helping them recognize and realise that their charismatic idiosyncrasies are the skills that make them the best person they can be and live the life they have imagined.
Allowing them to make mistakes and not doting on their every move that they make.
But most of all, loving them unconditionally and teaching them that there are no limits in life. Teaching them that life has many surprises and can take them further than they can ever imagine.
And when you do you discipline them, make sure that it is just and that any criticism you give them is constructive and not destructive.
My business partner Sonya Karras and I created The Australian Teenage Expo with all these ideals in mind. We hand pick the exhibitors that will give the teenagers of Australia the opportunities and skills to become the best adults they can be and to allow them to follow their dreams.
The Australian Teenage Expo 2014 is all about giving young people options, life choices and opportunities in a fun and interactive way. It’s a place where teenagers, parents and educators can come and get a whole lots of positive views on how to best access their full potential in all of its forms. REMEMBER WE HAVE FREE TICKETS TO GIVE AWAY!
Do not miss it: 28th August 2014 3pm-9pm