Free Spirits, Not Holy Terrors (Episode 64)
How do you raise a free-spirited child who isn't a holy terror? How can you foster awareness and respect without crushing their spirit? Tune in this week as we discuss the impact of training with your children, as well as lessons on perspective from our week in Yellowstone.
In this episode, we discuss how to foster awareness and respect without shutting your child down or crushing their spirit
How to raise a free-spirited child
You - and your child - are facing new things together. There will be new experiences, new emotions, and new responses as you both learn and step in to who you are. Your child is figuring all of this out for the first time, and how often do we as parents simply sit back and wait for when they mess up to correct them?
There is power in training. Not to create an army of minions who follow directions. But to practice - to prepare them before something occurs - this is to equip them with the tools before it becomes a reaction or correction. Give them the resources to be able to function and move through it. They will learn either way - so who do you want to teach them - you or the world?
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The Real World Can Be Harsh...
Allow your child to feel ALL the emotions, both good and bad, in a loving environment where they can play and experience both positive and negative in a loving environment in our home vs. simply "throwing them to the wolves" to navigate on their own once they hit the "real world".
Part of learning to ride a bike is that you fall, and you get back up. And in life, we have to figure out how to do that as well. Sometimes things hit us right between the eyes in a way that just shocks us and stalls us, and that's a real opportunity for a crossroads to decide who you are going to be in that moment.
Being able to walk that path with your kids is a treasure we shouldn't shy away from.
The World Is My School and Everyone Is My Teacher
Everyone is your teacher. You have the ability to learn something no matter what, even if it's what NOT to do. Give your children the opportunity to practice and learn so they know vs. simply correcting them. Consistency is so important to help children learn how to navigate situations - show them the path, and follow through with it. We see kids time and time again; a beautiful free-spirited child, that ends ups being a holy terror as they run around, not because they are necessarily doing something horrible, but because they have no concept of how their actions are impacting anything beyond their own mind.
It’s not that there is just one RIGHT way to do this. Life just isn’t that black and white. It’s a matter of simply being aware, and using opportunities to be proactive with your free-spirited child. When you see a learning opportunity that helps them deal with those uncomfortable moments, draw light to it. Observe others. Not in a judging way, but in looking what you can learn so your children can understand how to process through in a way that fosters awareness and respect.
Consistency Is Key
A high D child is not naturally inclined to be a team player, a follower, or allow others to win. Instead of squashing their spirit, use their desire for a challenge in a different way. Ds love a challenge; this is their currency. Give them challenges - only ask questions of others, allow another to win, try being the follower for this event, etc. Help them experience other walks of life.
Free-range children, a free-spirited child, attachment parenting, permissive parenting, etc - there are a lot of times where our children are allowed to be wild and free, and it’s an amazing thing. Yet I feel we do a disservice to our children if we allow that without also emphasizing the importance of their impact on others.
For children in alternative school models especially, your child may not naturally know how to stand in line, wait their turn, work as a team, etc. It doesn’t mean you have to throw them in public school to learn; there are many ways you can give them these opportunities. Maybe karate class is too much, but a high ropes team building course is a fit. Maybe you don’t need 40 hours of structure, but one structured class a week may help them learn how to be more centered and practice self control.
Go Back To Your Family Vision
Think about what you want your family to be - if you haven’t done a family vision yet, get started with that, and include your free-spirited child in the process. Identify not only a family vision, but what is a mantra your child could adopt? Can they visualize and say who they want to be?
What do your children speak into their lives about who they are and who they want to be?
Every action has a consequence. Teach personal responsibility. You reap what you sow. The more you can be proactive about this. Since everything has a consequence, you - or nature - is going to teach them this.
You are your child's first teammate. Work together!
Your Weekly Challenge:
Look at what you can be proactive with this week as a learning opportunity for your child. Stepping back and allowing another to have the limelight, or stepping up and finding your voice. Address a situation before it comes up, and shift who is in charge. Don’t simply be a reaction to what circumstances have been thrown your way, but look at awareness so you can course-correct to go where you really want to go.
The more we recognize those personality styles and those strengths and what triggers us, the more we can come back to how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.