15 Important Life Lessons to Teach Kids as They Grow by Robin Belliveau (The Intuitive Parent)
In no particular order of importance:
1) Never let anyone bully you into silence. Your voice matters. If you feel passionate about something, don't keep quiet because you are afraid of upsetting someone. If you are stirring a reaction in them, it is they who need to learn why. It's not about you, nor is it personal, even if they are trying to make it seem that way. Their reaction means they are thinking and that's never a bad thing, whether they agree with you or not. There are always people that need to hear what you have to share in a way that will affect them positively. Don't get attached to the outcome of what you say, whether it's good or bad. The intent behind what you share is what matters and shows your own character. Let that speak for itself.
2) Your feelings are never wrong, just be clear about how you feel, and let no one make you feel ashamed for having those feelings. Always check yourself here. Reactions aren't feelings. Get to the feelings behind your reactions then you can share in a meaningful way. If the person you are sharing with has a problem with them, they aren't a safe person to share with. Move on to someone who knows how to listen to your heart and wants to hear and understand you.
3) Never shrink to make others more comfortable. You have a right to live, breathe, be yourself, and be happy. If someone has a problem with it, it's not your responsibility to explain yourself to make them feel better. If they have a problem with your existence, the root is usually jealousy on some level. Ignore them and move on. Don't allow their issues to change how you think, feel, or act.
4) Be ok with alone time. That's the only way to get in touch with who you are. If you need to always be on the go and around other people, there's something wrong.
5) Life isn't about working to pay for stuff that doesn't make you happy. Sure, the instant gratification from getting something new can't be denied, but it's a fleeting feeling. If that's your only source of happiness, you will never be happy. Use your money for things that create lasting happiness. And stay out of debt!
6) Make meaningful memories. If you do many things and have no focus on meaning, you won't remember most of what you did. Make your time count and maintain a healthy balance.
7) Life isn't a competition. Just because you graduate at the top of your class, or are seen as being a great artist at your school, it doesn't mean you are better than anyone. There will always be people much better at those things than you. It doesnt matter. Your family can be proud of you but you are not better than the kid at the bottom of your class. That kid has talents you know nothing about. If you like to compete and enjoy the challenge, do it with yourself. Be better than you were yesterday, if that makes you happy. Don't feel like you need to though either. You are perfect, just the way you are.
8) Let no one use you for their own gain. If it's constant, it will erode your self worth, self respect, and happiness eventually draining you. In the short term, it's just annoying.
9) Bullying is never ok and there is no excuse for it. Don't stand idly by when you see bullying either. Help the victim, tell the bully it's not ok if it's safe to do so, and stop associating with the perpetrator, unless they decide to change how they treat others. Meanness is never ok and don't try to relate to why the person is the way they are. It won't change them. I can't tell you how many times situations like this came back to haunt people I know very many years later! Your reputation is everything! If you bullied, sat back and did nothing when someone was bullied, or stayed friends with one, it can impact your future career, community support, and every type of relationship you can think of. You'll find out about it after the opportunity to explain yourself has passed, if at all.
10) Never victim blame. No one asked to be treated badly and don't try to figure out what someone did to "deserve" being treated badly. That especially goes for judging someone negatively who has had traumatic experiences. They aren't damaged, have baggage, or are hyper sensitive and dramatic because of them, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. You have no idea how these experiences change people. They are in fact more resilient, less prone to drama, know what's important in life, and have more insight than you ever will because you didn't have to go through what they did. Learn from them! They have a lot of wisdom to share!
11) Life is supposed to be fun. There will be pain and heartache. In the meantime, find joy. You can't live without it.
12) Always be honest, but with a huge dose of kindness. Your place isn't to teach people lessons. There is no such thing as constructive criticism. If someone asks for advice, you can give it but do so with kindness and in a way that is helpful. If they didn't ask for input on something, keep your mouth shut. It's very possible that the person you think you know more than has more wisdom into a situation than you do, or much more life experience than you give them credit for.
13) If you see someone who needs help, give it; from opening doors for someone with a baby carriage, to a friend going through tough times. You reap what you sow, but never do it just because you want something back. Your reward is the good feeling you got from helping. If anything else comes out of it, be extra grateful.
14) Always keep growing and expanding. Don't get stuck in a rut. That will destroy your soul. Learn something new and push your boundaries a little. Only you gets to decide what those boundaries are though. That part is very important.
15) You can't change other people. Change is personal and comes from within. No one will change to make you happy or even make themselves happier unless they want to. And don't make someone miserable in order to force them to change. It's cruel, manipulative, and selfish. The sooner you realize this, the more time and effort you will have to focus on more important things. That also goes for you! Don't change yourself to make anyone else happy unless you see the change as good for your own wellbeing. Keep your autonomy.
How do I teach these? Openly talking about them is a great start. Ultimately, if you don't live them yourself, it'll be more difficult for your children to learn them any other way but through mistakes. Adopt them yourself and, if age appropriate, talk about your own experiences and mistakes in trying to live them.
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
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