How to Raise Awake Children

From birth we are being programmed to accept everyone else beliefs that become a template for our own beliefs or what we think they are.  Parent’s often project their own beliefs, traditions and dogma’s on their kids without even realizing they are doing so.  We aren’t creating robots, we are meant to shape our children and to assist them in self development that will allow for independent thinking and for them to decide for themselves what they want to subscribe to when they are old enough to make those choices.  Critical thinking is paramount to stifle the apathetic, robotic adult that most kids end up becoming unless as parents we take appropriate action. 

Richard Herrnstein and his colleagues gave over 400 seventh graders explicit instruction in critical thinking--a program that covered hypothesis testing, basic logic, and the evaluation of complex arguments, inventiveness, decision making, and other topics.

After sixty 45-minute lessons, the kids were tested on a variety of tasks, including tests the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and Raven Progressive Matrices (both used to measure IQ). The project was remarkably effective.  Compared to students in a control group, the kids given critical thinking lessons made substantial and statistically significant improvements in language comprehension, inventive thinking, and even IQ (Herrnstein et al 1986). An emerging and exciting body of research by Stanford's Carol Dweck suggests several key things that  contribute to raising successful kids.

Several Key Things Contribute to Raising Successful Kids

Don’t Praise them for their innate abilities

Praising kids merely for their innate abilities, such as their intelligence, actually makes it less likely that they'll grow up to enjoy learning and to excel.

Praise kids for their strategies and processes

Praising kids instead for the strategies and processes they develop to solve problems--even when they don't fully succeed--makes them more likely to try harder and ultimately achieve.

The Effects of these strategies can be quantified

The effects of these praise strategies can be quantified even when we're talking about children as young as 1 to 3. 

We are supposed to be teaching them right from wrong and instilling self confidence and a positive mindset that will help them believe they can achieve their goals no matter how lofty or out there they may seem to us. Researchers at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom found that parents who set super-high expectations for their teenage daughters--and who constantly reminded them of those expectations--had daughters who were less likely to become pregnant, drop out of school, or wind up in lousy, low-wage jobs.

Children Live a Reality of Wonderment

Children live in a reality of wonderment, excitement, zest for life and belief in magical abilities and we rob them of that by ascribing our personal experiences and belief systems onto them which have no bearing on the reality that they live in. When our children come to us and tell us they have been talking to an imaginary friend, we debase them by telling them that cannot be true and that these things are a figment of their imagination.  Instead, we should be encouraging them to broaden their creativity ask questions such as “what was his/her name”, “what did you guys play” “what did they say”.  These kinds of things reinforce their belief in the magical aspect of life, instead of telling them they are basically insane.  Imagine what that does to their self esteem? In interviews, 85% of 4-year-olds said that they believed in Santa, 65% of 6-year-olds said that they believed, and 25% of 8-year-olds said that they believed. 

 82% of parents still agree on kids having imaginary friends is detrimental !! A study by Eileen Kennedy-Moore Ph.D. showed that children with imaginary companions (either invisible friends or personified objects) tend to be less shy, engage in more in laughing and smiling with peers,  and do better at tasks involving imagining how someone else might think. These are good things and it allows children to be children. They will have enough time to see bad things happening in the world, we should encourage them to see the beautiful things and to believe in magic, because to them magic is real!  Kids brains are larger than adult brains based on proportion, about 130 % larger! Children live on their own kind of “brainwave.” Their brains see and hear things that they understand. Their innocent minds have their own perceptions which allows them to talk to imaginary friends and they aren’t forced to believe a certain concept over another, until we as their parents teach them.Those numbers were published in a small study in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry in 1978.

Children have unbounded energy, don’t let that disappear

Do you ever wonder where children get their unbounded energy from? Why does this disappear and why do some kids get lazier the older they get?  We only have a very short time to train our children while they are young. What they learn in these formative years is what will stick with them later in life. It will shape their worldview as adults. If they are used to being catered to, playing excessively, and not being expected to do anything useful, do you think that when they hit 22 all of a sudden an instinctual hard-worker gene will kick in? No, on the contrary, they will spend the rest of their lives longing for the “good old days” and trying to manipulate their situation so as to always do as little as possible. This is a disconnect from their original nature based on conditioning from parents.  Teach your kids to be responsible individuals who can do things for themselves is essential in raising kids who actually follow through with their actions.  Teaching them to do things for themselves also instills a sense of pride and belief in themselves that they otherwise won’t get. If you keep doing everything for  them, they will think that is how it is always going to be and will be hard pressed to survive in the real world once they leave the nest. 

Trust is Essential

Trust is essential in nurturing these positive attributes.  Lying to your child, forcing them to do certain extra curricular activities they aren’t interested in or trying to force them to learn to read before they are ready is fueling this disconnect. Forcing kids to do things they aren’t excited about creates a negative association which can actually delay learning. Brain scientist and molecular biologist John Medina says ”Making learning and playtime stressful is counterproductive, adds Medina. “The more stress hormones swarm children’s brains, the less likely they are to succeed intellectually.” I never lie to my child. I give her choices in life even though she is three, it gives her a sense of control over her own little life and empowers her to make the right choices.  Something that will be quite controversial is the fact that I do not make my daughter tell her estranged father she loves him when he says it on the phone to her.  I started out prompting her with “come on tell Daddy you love him” and one day when we hung up the phone she flat out said “Mommy, I don’t want to say I love you, I only say I love you to you and Omi and Opa (her grandparents that we live with at the moment). It was at that moment I realized she resented me making her say something she didn’t feel and I decided never again to make her say it again as she is smart enough to say it when she feels it.  How do I know this? She often leans over to me for no reason and says “Mommy I love you”, no prompting needed.

By making them do things we want them to do such as play with certain toys, have certain friends, not talk to invisible friends, not climb trees with the boys in the neighborhood etc…all leave our children with a disconnect between who they really want to be and who we think they should be.  We can’t live out our failed childhood through our children. We need to raise them right, with manners, teach kindness, service to others, show love and give them opportunities to make choices and build self esteem instead of encourage this disconnect.

This disconnect causes a confusion where they begin to doubt their unique abilities that they were put on this earth to do.  This confusion causes all sorts of problems later on in life that result in trust issues with their parents, fear of the unknown and closed minded beliefs that they didn’t develop on their own but rather regurgitated from their parents.  The problem of this regurgitation is one where the individual seeks validation of their worth in other people instead of internally knowing exactly what their worth is.  The individual will not delineate healthy boundaries in their dealings with others which will lead to a lifetime of failed relationships with  healthy people or a steady stream of attracting the wrong kind of partner that either uses them to fulfill their own areas that are lacking or attracting narcissistic types that only seek to satisfy their ego.  Either way the consequences are detrimental. They are creating these adults that are not growing and shaping themselves likely until they go through an awakening process wherein they figure out who they are.  It is usually not anything like what they thought and that they have been living someone else’s narrative.

Parenting is a huge responsibility, one that is unlike any other challenge an adult will face in their lives and it should be done using a unique strategy that is not really understood fully in Western Cultures. It is certainly not taught in schooling that exists in the United States. Being a parent myself and having gone through my own hardships, caused me to go through an awakening that was not pleasant in the beginning but ultimately has taught me so much and given me so much insight, especially related to my daughter. I have been tasked with raising my daughter in a way that has been shown to me by my higher self and has been backed with evidence by science and by her actions and how she has changed and grown in the last two years to support the conclusion I have come to.  You as a parent are obligated to do the very best to change our future through our children, as they are the leaders of tomorrow. I am not an expert in parenting, nor do I claim to be but I am expertly qualified to pass along the information that I have been so fortunate to be imparted with that you too can receive for yourself by seeking a higher truth.  I am not a guru, I am not a chosen individual, I am just a human being and a single mother that has never settled for mediocrity and I never take anything on face value. I trust in God or Spirit, I follow my intuition, and I question everything, then I research every permutation of it to ensure it’s validity.  To be a good parent is not to teach your child to be a lone robot performing a singular task in a vacuum but to be a member of the whole of humanity contributing in countless interdependent ways, including even entirely unpaid ways. This will require nothing less than a redefinition of our thinking processes and an un-programming of sorts. To ensure the success of our children’s future will require rediscovering what it means to be truly human and what it means to have a healthy childhood. Mark Twain once said the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. In the decades ahead, our jobs as parents will be teaching our kids the ways to their “whys”.  May we all start to realize the error of our ways and start raising clear -eyed, wide awake children able to confess the sins of their country, recognize lingering inequality in our systems, and fight for justice and the dignity of their neighbors.