Empowering Your Child
Empowering your child is a process; it’s all about guiding them to feel powerful and giving them opportunities to pursue their dreams. It’s also about fostering their confidence, courage, and strength so that they can successfully conquer whatever challenges they encounter.
As parents, we have to do more than just encourage our children—we must truly believe in what they are trying to achieve. If you believe in their dream, then they will learn that they deserve the chance to make their dreams come true.
This kind of empowerment doesn’t come naturally to everyone! The good news is that it’s a learn-able skill. I’ll share a few techniques with you, using my own daughter and her biggest dreams as an example.
Dream BIG (And Don’t Fear Big Dreams)
I always say that “A dream too big is just the right size.”
At the age of 5, my daughter Raquel knew exactly what she wanted to do—become A POLITICIAN . She positively lit up when she told me this; I could see how confident and strong she felt. I asked her why. She told me her kindergarten teacher told her she was a leader and she heard Dad and I talk about politicians being the leaders of Canada. So she wanted to be a POLITICIAN.
As a parent, I could have laughed at this reasoning and told her she was silly. “A politician? That’s so unrealistic! You should aim for something more achievable, sweetheart.”
By doing so, I likely would have crushed that dream forever. We don’t realize the power of our words when we’re talking to children, especially about their dreams. Such words would have taken the power out of her hands and that would have been that. End of dream.
Instead, I told her that she absolutely COULD be politician when she grew up. When I told her Dad, he also applauded and encouraged her big dream. “Yes, you can be the politician when you grow up! Someone is going to be, so why not you?”
Reinforce the Dream
Empowering your child isn’t complicated and you can learn how. It really takes the same effort that you apply to any goal—approach it with enthusiasm, dedication and a willingness to “set aside” your preconceived ideas, projections and personal baggage. Sure, their dream may sound terrifying or unrealistic to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not achievable.
A child so wholeheartedly wants to believe his or her dreams can come true. It is up to the parent to support this notion (whether it makes sense to us or not!) and reinforce the dream.
I reinforced Raquel’s dream by reminding her of it frequently as she grew up. Don’t be afraid to bring it up—just making it a part of everyday discussion will make it seem more and more attainable. Our realities are made up of what we believe, and she would never become politician if I framed it as an “unbelievable” achievement.
Check Part 2 for tips on how to support that dream as they get older; find out what we did to help Raquel work on her dream.