Having children in modern day is no joke. Times have changed, and the pressures are on our kids more than they ever have been. Children today are bombarded with a highly competitive environment; they are expected to excel in the classroom, on the sports field and at extra-curricular activities. The trap parents all appear to fall into (perhaps unconsciously) is teaching our children they are valued only if they win or at the best at something.
Our children are striving for recognition and approval to build their sense of self-worth - whether that means hours practicing gymnastics, or getting to bed at 22:00 every night after studying to get those top marks. We need to raise our kids teaching them that they possess intrinsic value - not because they are good at something. If our children continue to grow up believing they are measured by their performance in various different avenues, they will grow into adults who may be looking for every opportunity to fill a void of neediness for recognition, leading to a life of endless unhappiness and searching.
So how do we motivate our children to reach their full potential, without putting the pressure on?
If your child is more anxious than you consider “normal”, basic relaxation techniques can go a long way in alleviating their stress. Teach them to breath in slowly for five counts, hold their breath, and then exhale for ten – and repeat three to five times. This extremely basic exercise slows the heart rate down – potentially avoiding a complete melt-down and panic attack. This is especially useful for our matrics and university students in the midst of exams.
Lastly, if your child gets to the end of their schooling career and STILL does not know what career path to pursue, there are a few options you could consider:
At the end of the day, we as parents are responsible to ensure our children have a good self-esteem, because a healthy self-esteem is the best precursor for success throughout life.
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