Life Skills and Dealing with the Critics (Episode 107)
Building up life skills in your children can be daunting, especially when you are fighting your own inner fears and critic. How do you tackle it? How do you create the next generation of leaders when leadership is such a scary thing to begin with?
In this episode and post below, Nathan and I share all about how to incorporate life skills and tackle that crazy inner critic.
Life Skills and Inner Critics
This week we tackle some questions about building up life skills - yet in our desire to do right by our children, it brings up the next big thing - the critic.
As parents, how do we do things "right"? How do ensure our children do get the life skills, and how do we keep from just getting stuck in our fears, our own criticism and judgements, and move beyond the naysayers that may knock us down?
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It's not the Critic Who Counts - are you in the Arena?
Where are we this week?
Ah, we've been all over Colorado boondocking with besties, visiting family, and enjoying the great outdoors! On our car rides, we've been listening to the theatrical version of the Bible on Audible...and lemme tell you, it's a doozy! It's a great rendition of it...just brutal. Audio books in the car are such a great way to pass the time, however - it allows everyone to still enjoy the scenery while all engaging in the same content. And it sparks some great discussions in the car! We're listening to it on Audible.
How do we help our children grow and build the life skills they need?
- I would love to hear more about your personal approach to how you bring out the best in your kids: quality, work ethic, character; how your family keeps everyone from sorta getting lazy and how you being out their “organic” awesome since the artificial “awesome” in schools and within society is usually contrived
- I would love to see more content about helping kids build life skills. It’s a huge category and I find that even in self-directed education, it’s one that has to be explicitly and intentionally taught to our children. They just don’t know what they don’t know in some of these arenas.
We're addressing two key questions on the podcast today:
Something that we have really fostered and worked on in our family has simply been allowing our children to set with discomfort or unrest instead of us rushing in to try and "fix it" for them. Allowing our children to sit with hunger or boredom has really enforced some life skills on patience and gratitude that we may have missed had we just jumped on their every need.
How are you allowing your children to learn their own coping skills? Are you rushing in to "fix" their discomfort every time, or creating space for them to learn those oh-so-important life skills of patience, critical thinking, innovation and creativity?
What Exactly Do You Dream of for Your Family?
We all have our own methodology, expectations and fears we bring to the table. Oftentimes we can get stuck fixating on how things were done in the past - and then we either try to replicate the same way we were raised, or do the exact opposite. Ultimately, however, no one is perfect.
We will mess up, miss the mark and fail our children. But then again, it's only a failure if you don't learn from it. Don't fall into the comparison trap. Recognize this is not a quick fix. When you see another family doing it "right", remember that it takes work. It takes time. Kids - and parents - will backslide. It's a constant growth opportunity.
Want to learn a bit more about natural consequences and boundaries?
- Have a countercultural kid and you aren't quite sure where to start?
- Feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed out?
- Tired of navigating all the toxic people in your life?
- Feeling like YOU have become that toxic person?
- 10 Essential Lessons In Life: Natural Consequences
- Every Action Has A Consequence (Episode 30)
- Natural Consequences, Discipline…or Punishment
- 10 Essential Lessons for Life: Pick Your Battles
- Bathtub Boundaries With An Ocean of Love (Episode 15)
- Bathtub Boundaries with an Ocean of Love
- TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM (EPISODE 57)
- On Boundaries: Your Children Are Not The Center Of The Universe!
Every Action has a Consequence
Weigh the pros and cons - recognize that, "if this..., then..." We talk things out with our kids to figure out our best options. We teach at a very young age that "every action has a consequence". We let them know their impact, and point out how their actions definitely affect others around them. We believe in natural consequences as much as possible, and this truly lays out those life skills. Additionally...pick your battles.
Nathan shares some examples on the podcast episode above of friends and family members with young children where we laid out the boundaries in our own home. Just because it's another child doesn't mean you can't set the precedent for you others - and things - are treated under your own roof.
Communicate your desires, your expectations, and what you're feeling. Be open and honest, as this is how they will learn most! It's not about shame; it's about being clear on where you stand, and then giving them the platform of creativity to figure out how they can really relate to you in a way you respond.
It's amazing when you lay out those boundaries, how the respect comes naturally, as they know their own limitations. All of a sudden, they are relying on their own critical thinking skills for how they can connect with you.
Don't avoid the crazy kids; be clear on how you want to be treated and see what may happen. Create a new normal with your relationship so they understand how to relate with you.
Intention vs. Reaction
We have the ability to do both. There will always be things we react to. The world will throw curve-balls at us and we can fill every moment simply reacting to what comes our way. However, this can be a quick recipe for burnout when you are constantly on the defensive. Get intentional. Don't just wish things were different; speak it into reality! Clearly communicate what you need and want. Don't make people guess how far to go with you - let them know what's okay and what isn't.
Yes, there will be critics
As we rise in our own greatness, there are going to be the naysayers, the attackers, and the critics who aim to tear you down. I have a client right now who has really struggled with this, as she always equaled her performance with her self worth. Here is an excerpt from my followup email with her that I think may benefit some of you:
Maybe they're out to get you and just focused on taking you down for their own enjoyment. But more than likely, they see your greatness and they attack - oftentimes this comes out of jealousy - a desire to disrupt what appears "perfect" in order to feel better about the disfunction they feel in their own head. Either way, we talked about how you still can write the story of personal growth through these trials. Not everyone will like you, and that's simply part of the process of rising as a leader.
We hit on it a bit in our call - think about how much the stress of leadership can age you - the most prominent position in the United States is presidency...and tell me one President we've had that didn't have a crowd of haters! Our politics are SO divided, because the more you rise in leadership, the more intense and passionate people can be that you portray exactly where THEY are at, which is going to be different for everyone. We have some friends who wrote a great album, and Nathan and I will sing this under our breath countless times when we hit conflict with an individual: You Can't Save Everybody - some people will make a lot of noise and get in your face, but their drama is not a license for your attention.
For those situations where you are having a hard time moving past, check out Byron Katie's "The Work". Go through it a few times and see how it may help. Like I said, it really impacted me, and also several of my clients.
Here is a great clip from Brené Brown on "Why Your Critics Don't Count". Man oh man I love her! If you haven't seen her whole Netflix show, it's so worth it. Chock full of goodness and she's so funny as well! "If you're not also in the arena getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feed back"
The critics only have as much power as you give them. And honestly, it makes the praise, the testimonials, the "you made a difference in my life" all the more sweeter.
I hope this helps each of you as you navigate your own critics, and you seek to surround yourself with those who lift you up...like in this group!
Your Weekly Challenge:
GLook for some "wins" this week. 1-1 time with your partner or child where you connected. Having that sweet family meal where everyone was truly present. Or maybe it was simply talking through any errand with your child and what you're doing, how and why you're doing it, etc to build those valuable life skills.
I am passionate that each of us has our own unique strengths that are important to share. You are powerful beyond measure. You make an impact. And so does everyone else in your family. The more you can understand that, know how to interconnect, and have grace, the more your family will thrive. Because ultimately, the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
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