How do we teach children to break tolerance?
Assess - How we teach our kids to pigeonhole thinking
We have come to believe that we need to teach our children hard what to do in order to be happy adults later on. We keep telling them what is right and what is wrong. That something is very beautiful and the other is not so beautiful. We constantly give them feedback in the form of praise or blame for their behavior. As parents, we continuously evaluate our children and teach them how to evaluate different situations themselves.
Of course, we always have good intentions. We want them to become socially acceptable, to be accepted, loved and recognized by others. But are we really doing them a favor?
Judge other people
We humans are very social creatures and it has long been proven that it makes us happy to be surrounded by people we love and appreciate. In a compassionate and understanding social environment, you are loved and accepted for who you are. This is often the case in a family. No matter what job you do, no matter what interests you pursue, no matter which path you choose, you will always be loved.
Unfortunately, this has generally been lost in our society. We judge each other constantly and incessantly. It starts with getting to know each other for the first time. We judge the appearance of the other very strongly and immediately find things that we don't like. If we find positive aspects in the other person, a feeling of envy creeps up secretly from behind. And then it starts right away: What job do you have? How old are you? (And how old do you look in comparison and what have you already achieved at your age?) Single or married? What car do you drive and what area do you live in? How many kids do you have Vegan or Meat Eating? Eco or Snob?
This is all small talk, but it serves more to put the person opposite in a drawer. We do not know how the person really is, whether they are there for other people when they are needed or what difficulties and fates this person has to overcome.
Of course, stereotyped thinking also has a purpose, it helps us to classify life and our new impressions. However, we have to be very careful, because we often tend to judge people more than encourage them.
Apart from other people, we also constantly judge every situation. How individual these judgments are can best be seen in the most common example: the glass is either half full or half empty. In the end, however, the glass is simply half filled with water. It's neither good nor bad, it's just the way it is. We are the ones who turn a situation into a positive or a negative one.
This may not be so important with a glass of water, but basically these individual judgments determine our entire life! Every situation in life has positive and negative aspects, we always decide in which direction to look. And we tend to always look in the same direction. This makes us either optimists or pessimists.
If we judge situations rather strictly and negatively, we generate negative emotions in our body. These make us unhappy and even sick in the long run.
In summary, these judgments decide how happy we are with our entire life!
How our children learn to judge situations and people
Our children learn by watching us and listening to us. And they may not always watch us, but they always listen to us (except when we want to, of course)! This means that when we sit at the table with our friends and gossip about others, our children will definitely notice when they are around. For the first seven years of life, they don't even have to actively listen to us. Everything they take in from their surroundings goes unfiltered into their unconscious. If we are people who like to judge other people and blaspheme others, our children unconsciously begin to look at people from a similar perspective. Not necessarily, but tends to be. After all, they have to follow us; through us they learn how to get by in the world.
In the same way, they learn to judge situations through us.
“Don't sit on the table! You don't do that, that's not nice. ”The child thinks: Who are you? Why can't I sit on the table just because someone doesn't do that? And why isn't that nice? I feel very beautiful.
Of course, a child can learn that there are certain social rules and forms in our culture. But the situation is initially as it is. Neither beautiful nor ugly.
As parents, we should observe how often we say to our children during the day: “This is (not) nice.” Or “This is great / it doesn't work at all” and so on.
Even if we judge situations positively rather than negatively more often, we teach them to judge that which prevents them (and us) from simply accepting the situation for what it is. Most of your current life as a child may be beautiful, but every child faces challenges in life.
In doing so, we often focus our attention on assessing the situation rather than on the solution.
If we then evaluate a situation as negative, we tend to see ourselves as victims and feel sorry for ourselves. If we see the situation for what it is, namely as a situation, we can focus more on what we do with it. This way we don't waste energy getting angry about the circumstances. Because these are just the way they are.
How can we explain desired behavior to our children without judging?
Failure to judge situations and other people does not mean that we just let our children do anything. If the children are very young and don't understand much, it is best to simply distract unwanted behavior. For example, if a toddler has something fragile in their hand, they can be offered something else, such as a toy. This distracts the toddler, gives him the toy and carefully takes the fragile object out of his hand. For children who already understand us well, it is always important to explain.
With reference to the example above, we can say to our children, for example: Many people are bothered by someone sitting on the table. Something can easily fall down, so we all sit in our chair at all times.
In general, you can just explain why you don't think something is so good or not so beautiful without evaluating it.
Praise and blame are also ratings that directly evaluate the child. That is why many educators say that too much praise is counterproductive for the child. As always, it is important to find a good balance. We can of course look forward to our child's successes. But it is perhaps an exaggeration to say “great”, “very good” or something similar at every step. The child thus gets used to constantly being praised for every little deed, and in adulthood increasingly looks for praise. Where it doesn't get praise, it may feel disappointment.
Evaluating less has a liberating effect
Most of the time we don't even notice how we evaluate everything ourselves. When we consciously pay attention to how we talk to our children for a day, it is only when we realize how much we are actually evaluating. It takes a bit of training to reduce this. However, it automatically brings mindfulness with it. Mindfulness generally helps us a lot to look at our relationships with our child "from the outside". We shouldn't be too strict with ourselves on this. However, if we free ourselves from evaluating every situation and other people in life, we automatically bring more relaxation, more woosah into our everyday life!
Thank you for reading this article and wanting to bring awareness to your family life.
Written with a lot of love
On my podcast “Kundalini Parents” I have created an episode in which I go into more detail on the subject of evaluating. Download it right here and never miss an episode. 🙂
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