4 Ways to Empower your Child Through Reflectionsby Farida Haji
There are numerous benefits of self-reflection practices. It empowers your child and improves their physical and mental wellness.
- Creating a sense of awareness to deal with challenging situations and complex emotions.
- Encourages them to accept mistakes and take responsibility for their actions.
- Cultivates various aspects of the personality, like intrapersonal and interpersonal communication skills, increases confidence and self-motivation.
Kahlil Gibran has an interesting take on parenting in his book, The Prophet (Knopf, 1923)
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
This poetry has a gentle way of describing an aspect of parenthood.
Do not push your expectations on your child.
Be present and nurture them so they can progress and shine.
How to practice self-reflection methods with children?
Young minds can easily be trained. Cultivating reflection methods is not the most laborious part, but sustaining those habits is. It may be difficult to expect children to follow the same practices adults use for introspection.
We would like to share simple practices of self-reflection you can incorporate into your child’s daily routine and empower them.
1. Providing a safe environment.
Be it at home or outside. Make sure your child is in a conducive environment. A space where they feel secure. When they attempt to try new things, praise their efforts. Refrain from overreacting to everything they do. Do not let their critical voice overpower them. Teach them to love and believe in themselves.
- Explore their comfort zones and preferences
- Understand their physical and mental abilities
- Share the bounties of Allah and teach them to show gratitude.
- Practice values, so they learn and are not forcefully taught.
2. Create a routine.
A routine does not have to be rigid. It can be a simple slot of a few minutes when you practice meditation techniques. Set apart sometime during the day and exchange thoughts. After maghrib, or before you sleep or when you are playing together.
Focus on activities you can do together that require minimal stress and are not distracting. When you make time for them, they value themselves and the time spent.
- Take a walk.
- Indulge in a craft
- Reading or writing
- Pick a sport
- Discover a hobby
3. Develop communication skills:
Intrapersonal communication cultivates self-awareness among children. Effective communication leads to efficient decision-making. Guide children to think before they act and allow them to take time and reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, and the consequences that follow.
Relationships are a crucial element for a child while growing up. A stable and strong relationship with an adult improves interpersonal communication. This makes them independent, self-motivated, reliable, and mature.
- Allow your child to share their story. Most importantly, listen.
- Share stories of your day. Make them feel important.
- Play their favorite game together.
- Strike conversations
- Sit with them for five more minutes and pray together before they sleep.
4. Express your Emotions
Allowing your child to express their feelings and emotions empowers them to take responsibility for how they feel and behave. Encourage your child to open up to you while you do the same as well.
Children mirror adults. If we express ourselves, children will do the same without hesitation. Emotions are complex. It can be difficult for children to explain what they are going through. As adults, if we confide reasons and reactions to our behavior, it normalizes the expression of emotions and boosts their confidence and self-esteem.
- Consider talking to them about reactions different emotions can cause.
- Explain why you may have reacted in a certain way.
- Allow them to explain themselves when they make mistakes
- Direct their energies to calm them during frustrating moments
- Most importantly, let them know it is ok to cry and ask for a hug.
Let us know in the comments if you have other ways of practicing self reflection methods with your children.