Teaching Children with mindfulness helps them reach their full potential


 

Staying present while we are parenting can be difficult at times. Our kids are such good teachers. They are able to create situations to help us grow as parents. We can be sure that when we are having a strong reaction to a situation involving our kids, there is something within us that needs to be healed. If we are mindful, we are able to grow and heal. If we are not mindful, we have knee jerk reactions that can keep us stuck in the box of parenting from reaction instead of presence. Mindful parenting helps us heal our own emotional wounds, so that nurturing our children comes from a healthier place.

We are all busy these days, and it is easy to get caught up in the, “hurry up, let’s go here”, or the “hurry up, we are going to be late” syndrome. What is the reaction to the child that is not in a hurry, one that is really enjoying what she is engaged in, one that is in the present moment? Obviously, there are times when we have to be somewhere at a certain time, parents that need to be at work, etc. However, what about the times when we think we have to be somewhere, when we have it in our minds that there is no choice? This is the time to practice mindful parenting and thinking outside the box. Some books may tell us to offer rewards for the child’s cooperation, or offer them a bribe, or maybe you might resort to the reaction you would have gotten when you were a child. Some of these things appear to work. For instance, the parent got what they wanted since the child went along with the plan. Success, right? At what expense to the parent-child relationship?

What would happen if you try something a bit different? Another option would be to step outside the box, so to speak. What might happen if we stop, look the child in the eyes, breathe deeply, let go of the judgments going through our minds about how we can’t believe we are letting a child decide what to do, and then really listen when the child tells us her needs. This is mindful parenting. Being able to really hear and see each other as human beings, not judging our situations or ourselves. Being as gentle with ourselves as we are with our children, as we learn a new way of being with our beloved children.

When a child is having a “tantrum”, this is a sign that we are not being present with them and they have a need that is not being met. If we are able to tune out the stares of others around us, and the voices in our heads of “it must be all my fault,” or my child is being unreasonable etc, we can clearly see our child for who they really are. They are human beings who are trying to get their needs met. Ask yourself what the difference is between a child’s cry for help (tantrum), or your tantrum when you are whining for the child to hurry up. Not in judgment of yourself, just to notice if you feel there is a difference. Why would one person’s needs be more important than another person’s? I believe that children who get their needs met will grow into empathic adults who are sensitive to other’s needs, which in turn, creates a healthier world for all.

My first job, beyond babysitting, was working as a cashier at a payday loan store. The store is now a website – simplepayday.co.uk, but back then I worked part-time. Juggling homework, participation on the swimming and tennis teams, involvement in three different band organisations, efforts on the academic team, and 4-H. After trying to work around my schedule became too difficult, I quit and became my own boss, teaching piano lessons on my least busy days.

Working in high school was probably one of the reasons that I had a sprinkling of B’s, rather than getting straight A’s. However, my extracurricular activities played a role in the number of scholarship offers I received; my lack of a 4.0 didn’t stop me from having my college paid for. And my experiences with holding a job during high school provided me with valuable insight that has served me well later in life. Encouraging your child to work a part-time job during high school might be one of the best things you can do for him or her.

Lessons Learned from a High School Job

There are a number of lessons that you can learn from a high school job. My two different work experiences taught me that I enjoy being my own boss much more than I enjoy working for “the man.” Additionally, I learned that it is possible to work from home and leverage your talents into a career. My husband had a high school job at a local grocery store. Talking to co-workers who had been employed by the store for 10 to 20 years and realizing that he wouldn’t be able to do much more than work at the grocery store for life, motivated him to create a plan to receive an education so he could get a better job and increase his earning power.

Other lessons that your children can learn from working a job in high school include:

  • The value of hard work.
  • The value of money.
  • How to budget an income.
  • Life isn’t a free ride.
  • The power of compound interest, if he or she opens an IRA.
  • How to fulfil responsibility and become a reliable person.
  • Time management.

These are valuable lessons that can carry over to the rest of your child’s life. If you expect your child to take on some of the responsibility of paying for entertainment, and extracurricular costs, he or she will quickly learn how to prioritise spending, and how to budget money.

Teenagers can also learn important lessons about getting things done and managing their time wisely so that they can get everything done. Working in high school can also provide a dose of reality: Most of us have to work in some capacity in order to get the things we need and want.

What About Grades?

It is possible to maintain a respectable GPA, be involved in some activities (I might have over-taxed myself), and still hold a high school job. I think that the lessons learned by working a high school job are worth getting the occasional B. Increasingly, showing that you are a well-rounded person, and not just a straight-A student, is becoming important when you apply for scholarships. Once your child moves beyond high school, and starts doing other things, the life lessons learned from a high school job will seem much more valuable than a 4.0.

What do you think of holding a high school job? What did your first job teach you?

High school jobs are likely the first time your child will be earning money and with that responsibility.

For many parents, the idea of teaching their children about credit cards seems absurd. The thinking is that mentioning credit cards encourages irresponsible financial behaviour. As a result, some parents avoid the subject of credit cards altogether.

It is important to realise, though, that just ignoring credit cards won’t guarantee that your child won’t use them — and use them irresponsibly — in the future. Your best option is to teach your children about credit cards, and how they can be used appropriately.

Explaining Credit Cards to your Teens

One the things that makes money such a difficult concept to teach to children is the fact that it becomes more abstract by the day. Your kids see you swiping plastic and assume that it is an unlimited supply of money. Even if you use a debit card, the fact is that all plastic payment looks the same to children. It’s a good idea to explain the concept of credit to children when they can understand.

A way you can do this is to bring your child with you to the bank to let him or her see that you put money in the bank. It’s that money that is accessed with a plastic card.

When it comes to credit cards, you need to make sure that your children understand that the money isn’t “theirs.” It’s borrowed, and it has to be paid back — with interest if the balance is paid off each month. You can show your child your credit card statement so that he understands that you have to pay the money back.

Unfortunately, younger children are going to have a harder time understanding how credit cards work. However, if you show them how you use plastic, and talk about it as money that you already have, they will start to get the idea. Older children, of course, can get a better grasp of interest and credit cards.

Visual Lessons for Credit Cards and Interest

You can aid your child’s ability to learn about credit cards with the help of visuals. Showing your credit card statement is one to do this. You can also use online calculators that show you how much you end up repaying when you buy items using credit cards. This can really put credit cards into perspective for some children.

Help your child understand how interest works by lending him or her money for something he or she wants. Explain that a credit card is just a loan. If your child asks to borrow $20, tell him or her that the repayment on the loan will be $22. Talk to your child about borrowing and help him or her understand that a credit card is a loan with easier accessibility.

You can really drive the lesson home by providing your child with a prepaid debit card or gift card for the loan, instead of giving him or her cash. Tell your child that he or she must repay you within 30 days, or you will charge interest. Explain that even though he or she has the card, the money on it isn’t theirs — it’s yours. Until you are repaid, they are in debt.

Allowing your child to practice with a debit card (prepaid or regular) can help him or her learn to practice restraint when using plastic to pay, and it can provide valuable experience. Don’t avoid credit cards. Talk about good money habits, and help your child practice, and he or she is more likely to grow up with better money habits.

To conclude

By thinking outside the box and mindfully parenting our children, we have the opportunity to heal ourselves and to nurture our children. We are able to heal ourselves by being present and really being with our children in an authentic way. When we love ourselves and our children, we are participating in healing our planet. When we heal ourselves, we can nurture our children in a healthier way. I believe that children that are nurtured in an emotionally healthy way (with mindfulness), grow up to be healthy adults, making healthy choices for themselves and for the world they live in.

Question: 

“How important it is for children to be free to explore their limits and experience the consequences of their mistakes?. In large part, this means letting them be out in the world, that is, outdoors, in an environment not wholly under control. I would love to tell everyone, “Just let your kids be free,” but unfortunately the matter is not so simple. Embedded as we are in modern society, much of the control imposed upon children is structural in origin and beyond the power of parents to easily alter. Furthermore, control on all levels has engendered the paradox I emphasize throughout this chapter; namely, it has made the world much less safe. In other words, I do not think all you parents out there are control freaks, nor am I going to advocate letting your children out right now to play in traffic.

Wait, let me contradict myself. I do think you—nearly all of us—are control freaks, simply by virtue of our membership in this culture. I also think that it is perfectly fine for children to play in traffic. But not traffic as it is in the world under control … read more here: https://charleseisenstein.org/books/the-ascent-of-humanity/the-great-indoors/