In honor of today being “Blogging for LGBT Families Day”, I wanted to talk a little about the single most important lesson you can teach your kids. While I’m no expert in raising kids (my cats aren’t too hung up on worry or guilt long as they see food, water, and fresh litter), I do know that teaching your kids how to be comfortable in their own skin is the most important lesson you can ever gift them. And, the good news is that you get to learn more about yourself and benefit in the process.
LGBT families bring a whole additional level of confidence and self-esteem challenges both for the parents and the kids. This means in order to thrive you need to be even more comfortable in your skin than the typical Mom, Dad, 2.5 kids down the street configuration because you will have to address questions about who you are and what your family is about throughout the years.
So, why is being comfortable in your own skin the #1 lesson for you and your kids to learn? Because when you are comfy in your skin you will experience:
- More personal freedom
- Increased confidence
- Better relationships
- Increased earnings and low to no debt
- A willingness to do the things you most want to do
- Ability to speak your truth
- More authentic and true to yourself living
- Strong self-esteem
- And more…
Isn’t that something you really want for your kids? For yourself? And the flip side is that if you are feeling dis-ease with who you are and living in your own skin you’ll find yourself sabotaging yourself by:
- Saying ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no
- Letting people walk all over you
- Not taking a risk to do the things you most want to do or be the person you long to be
- Emotional spending to cover up the discomfort
- Not seeking or asking to be paid what you’re worth
- Playing ‘small’ in your life and cowering from the truth
- Ignoring your health and well-being
- And all kinds of self-sabotaging behaviors
I’m guessing you don’t want this kind of life for your kids. You wouldn’t beat them up the way you sometimes beat yourself up with mental chatter and negative self-judgment.
Just imagine what would be possible for you, your kids, your family, the world around you if everyone came from a place of personal power and comfort in who they are. Pretty wild vision, right?
So, how can you start teaching your kids how to be comfortable in their skin at an early age knowing that inevitably they will bump up against mean kids, adults, bullies, and the general growing pains that come with self-discovery through the years? Teach them how to be their own best friend.
While there are several secrets to being comfortable in your own skin, being your own best friend is the best one to start with especially for kids. You can start this lesson very early on. Teach them to treat themselves as they want to be treated – with love, kindness, self-care, and understanding. Explain to them that they wouldn’t want some bully beating them up, right? If that’s the case then, tell them they first need to stop bullying themselves. Here’s some ways you can help them learn how to be their own best friend:
- Have them spend some time alone and quiet…without TV, videos, games, etc.
- Let them make choices that make them feel good — choosing the color of the paint in their room, picking what kind of food to have for dinner once a week, or any age appropriate decision that empowers them and lets them know they matter.
- Encourage them to read.
- Play some “games” of self-discovery with them or by themselves.
- Show them that it is OK to have feelings (all kinds, none are “good” or “bad”) and model appropriate behaviors to teach them healthy ways to express those feelings.
- Teach them self-care is A-OK and that their needs matter
And the single most important thing you can do to help teach them these lessons is to model them yourself. Actions always speak louder than words. How you act and behave around your own self-care and comfort in your own skin will have a bigger impact than any book, lecture, or interactive experiment you can give your kids. They will grow up being driven more by how things made them feel than by any textbook fact they ever learned. The good and bad news is that you get to grow and stretch yourself as you are teaching them. You both get to grow up a bit together. If you’re not sure how to get started or need support for yourself – by all means get it. There are a plethora of resources on this blog and at my website including free teleclasses that can help you build the confidence you need to share this most important lesson with your family.