As parents, we feel that we need to make sure our children have that secure foundation. But sometimes we don’t believe that we are giving them everything that they need. This is especially true if you are a single parent with life pulling you in so many different directions. But the solution is about making sure our children feel comfortable in their own skins. What does it really take to help our children to feel like they can be who they want to be?
Those Touchstones of Support
Sometimes we need to take a leaf out of those parents that feed their children. It’s their way of showing them that they care. And there are many universal touchstones of support that we may think would benefit our home lives. Whether it’s a cup of homemade hot chocolate or a nourishing meal at the end of a difficult day, if we can give them the foundations of support in very simple ways, it can make them feel the sensation of comfort, even if they don’t necessarily feel comfortable in their own skin. We spend a lot of time having to work every hour under the sun, and if this means we don’t get to see our children much, when we do we’ve got to give them those touchstones of support that will make them feel comfortable, even if everything else around them is chaotic.
Let Them Take Risks
The big wide world is capable of anything, and when we are trying to make our children understand that they are great the way they are we have to allow them the mindset to take risks. If we provide a baseline of comfort at home, that means they have the opportunities to take risks in other parts of their lives and the fact is that we can’t be with them all the time, so we shouldn’t actively discourage taking risks, but rather give them the foundations to understand what is a worthwhile risk and what is not. Learning to take a chance is so important, and this is where helping them to problem-solve effectively can give them the ability to enjoy things more. Risks are not bad things, and if you think that taking risks is not a good thing, then your children will think the same. A big part of helping your children to be comfortable in their own skin is about taking chances, following their passions, and doing things even if it goes against the grain of popular opinion.
Open the Floodgates of Conversation
As parents, we can easily slip into “lecture mode.” We may tell our children to not do things, or we may feel that we have to really coax them towards something, but we have to be interested in their opinions. We have to understand what they have to say, but we must also feel that what they have to say is actually important to us. By talking to them rather than talking at them we start to reflect on what they are saying so we can understand. Partly, it is about learning how to listen. But we have got to stop being an interrogator which is hard to do. But if our children are to feel comfortable in their own skin, they need to feel supported, which means that we have to learn to speak with our children, that we also have to listen to that. This means that we earn their trust.
Try New Things Together
We need to encourage our children to do new things, but this means that we may have to do these things with them. We have to remember that the key to being comfortable in our own skin is about embracing different things, rather than feeling that we need to be constantly comfortable. As important as it is for you to provide a comfortable home environment, you’ve also got to set an example, so if you can find opportunities that they are interested in, do them together. This means that they will have you on their side, but it also gives you the perfect opportunity to communicate the fact that growth is not just for them, but it is for you.
We all want our children to feel that they can go out into the world and do anything, but if they don’t feel comfortable in their own skin, we’ve got to get the balance between home comforts and courage correct. And this means that we’ve got to look at ourselves as well as our children. If they don’t feel comfortable in the world, is it because we’re not giving them the right tools, or are we protecting them too much? If you balance the comfort with the courage, there is no stopping them.