How to teach your child to listen to their inner voice

Dear Tunesters,

Today’s topic is about teaching our kids what we often wish we knew how to do ourselves – listen to our intuition. In this post you’ll get some examples of listening to your inner voice and a quick but powerful exercise for teaching your kids how to locate that voice when they’re in a bind.

So many times life throws us an opportunity or a situation that might feel benign or even exciting on the surface, but  doesn’t feel quite aligned with where we’re at.

Here’s an examples: A couple of years ago, when I started working on my online course, I spoke to someone who offered to pay for the production of my next album. Making an album costs A LOT. My head said YEEEESSSS!

But my stomach said Nooooooooo.

I sat with it for a while and realized that I needed to turn him down. It just didn’t feel like the right time. I had to trust that my intuition was guiding me in the right direction and that when I was ready to make an album I would have the opportunity I needed.

That was an instance when I was able to listen to my inner voice but there are so many times when I just can’t seem to hear it.

One of our jobs as parents is to help our kids exercise their intuition muscle so that it will be easier for them to make the right decisions  throughout their lives. Don’t we wish someone had done the same for us? 

So how do we do it?

Basically we need to help our kids distinguish between the voice that speaks out of intuition and the one that speaks out of FEAR.

To do this I turned to some of the current smart, creative, motivated and accomplished women who teach us how to be true to ourselves,  like Elizabeth Gilbert, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Glennon Doyle, Brene Brown and Marie Forleo.

They teach that the inner voice is steady and calm. We may ignore it sometimes but it is unwavering. It has a quiet confident nature to it.

On the other hand the voice that contradicts our inner voice speaks for our ego. It compares, it’s more aware of scarcity, and it tends to be chattier and quicker. The voice of our ego often has us talking to everyone about our indecision. But in those conversations we’re often hoping that our friend or family member will give voice to the intuition we’re ignoring.

An inner guiding system to teaching our kids to listen to their intuition:

1. Bring awareness to the issue

We tell them that sometimes we know what’s right for us, but it’s hard to listen to that voice. It happens when a friend is making fun of someone and we don’t want to join, or when we are drawn to doing something that we know could be too dangerous. 

2. Give examples

We ask if they have ever felt this conflict. We point out situations in which they might have felt it. Maybe we’ve even observed situations like this for them in real time.

Here’s an example:

The other day I picked up my daughter from a playdate. On the way home she said: “I feel strange.” 

I asked her why and after some prodding she said that something her friend did made her feel uncomfortable (cue the mother freaking out.)

She said that at times her girlfriend became too aggressive in their play and physically hurt my daughter. For instance this happened when she was holding my daughters hand she bent it back too far. My daughter said that she didn’t think her friend meant to hurt her. 

I told my daughter that next time she was with this friend she could tell how she felt. We talked about how to do that. 

But after that I told her something that our generation might not have been told enough:

“You know what feels right and what doesn’t feel right. Always listen to your body and your feelings. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, listen to that voice. You know best”

 

3. Teach them this quick test

This is inspired from Marie Forleo’s “Everything is Figureoutable. I’ve tailored it to fit our kids. I’ve actually used it a bunch of times myself.

  1. Take a moment to think about the situation, opportunity, decision. 
  2. Get still. Take deep breaths.
  3. Ask yourself: When I think about going with a decision, or doing an activity, does it make me:
    •  Feel more relaxed and breathe easier, feel some joy, light heartedness, anticipation, and feel more expansive?
      That’s the calm inner voice.
    • Feel heavier in my chest and make my stomach feel tight, dread, anxiety, feel more contractive?
      It’s a No Go.
  4. Notice how your body feels as you think about each option.

Of course there are moments in which fear is constructive and even imperative for our safety. In those moments we may feel dread and anxiety and will still need to listen to our fear. But those instances aside, we can teach our kids the process above for day to day decisions that might have them confused.

The more they learn to do this now, the more they’ll be practiced by the time they are adults and decisions get even harder..

But parents, there is a risk to listening to our inner voice that we need to tell our kids about top,

The more we do, the more VISIBLE we might be. Meaning, we might go against what others want us to be or do. And that means losing some fans. For instance, if my daughter tells her friend how she feels her friend might not take it well. 

Part of teaching our kids to be in touch with their truth is teaching them that we can’t win them all, but that the cost of going against our truth is often higher than the cost of going against someone else’s.

 

Want a tip on getting your baby to sleep? Check out this post.

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