It’s so hard for adults to take the priorities, perspectives and desires of kids seriously.
We cannot see how important different things are at different ages.
This is why empathy is so important.
We must work at being able to enter the consciousness of our children at each age/stage of development. Try and see the world from their perspective. This is hard to do because we’re steeped in our own reality. Money, job, transportation, lack of time, relationships… you know, real life!
Our priorities seem so real, important and valid.
The things kid’s value just can’t compare.
Don’t Tell Me What To Do!
Most adults get so angry if we were to try and impose our thoughts and priorities upon them, yet they are perfectly comfortable doing so to their own children.
Perhaps some consistency is in order here!
If we can apply the same respect to our kids that we ourselves desire then we can easily value the things they find important. It just takes that moment of self-reflection to step outside of our own perspective and embrace theirs.
Video Games are Valid – Texting is Terrific
The playing of a video game, watching YouTube, the importance of texting friends, listening to their music, going to concerts or talking with their friends about who likes whom.
These might seem trivial wastes of time to us, but how deep they are to our young people.
(my kid is 18 so these are the things I chose. You’ll have to substitute your own examples!)
They Learn About Themselves From Us
The way we react to what they feel is deep and important indicates to them how much we respect who they are. When we trivialize these things our children feel we are trivializing them, who they are and this hurts.
We seek validation from our parents from a very young age. We see ourselves through their eyes more than most people realize. How can kids learn to trust themselves when we tell them that who they are and what they find important are wrong or less worthy?
The message of how worthy they are is something they carry with them for all their lives. It’s something WE have carried with us for all our lives! It affects our choices and our desires. It affects what we believe we deserve. It can make us settle for less than our hearts deepest longing!
A Solid Foundation
Let us do our best to give our children the most solid foundation we can by validating what they value.
We are helping them form a relationship to their likes, their preferences, their desires and dreams. If they feel that their values are as important and valid as ours their sense of self becomes very powerful.
It will take some work to pull ourselves out of our own reality and see the world from theirs. There is effort involved! We must open our minds and hearts to them in an uncommon way. If we can do this we can offer a profound gift to our kids.
If you have any questions or a response to this idea please make a comment below or send me an email.