Me, “Don’t disempower your children.” Tip 19
Although originally I had 88 tips, cut down to 43, with only room for 18, I had to squeeze this tip in. With scattered notes on my bedside table regarding this topic, I just couldn’t let it go. For those who purchase the book, the reader will get a bonus tip for a total of 1001 tips. (Take note – it’ll be a trivia question one day I’m sure!)
I guess the first noteworthy point is: It’s one thing to empower, but another to disempower. I think you can do both if you’re not careful.
Disempowering can be disguised as empowering. If parents empower children to believe only in their way, hold their grudges, and carry out their vendettas – that’s disempowering.
There are many ways parents can disempower kids. We do so by doing for them what they can do for themselves, by making fun of them, embarrassing them and not listening. We disempower children by not realizing their value and by blocking their ability to critically think, or by not supporting them to develop that ability.
Disempowerment happens when children are ridiculed, berated, and/or not allowed, encouraged, or guided to make decisions. When children are forced to rely solely on their parents’ voices and not taught to, or supported to, develop their own, that’s disempowerment.
When the parental voice is loud, critical and unforgiving the result is disempowered children. Stunting the growth of children limits their perspective it, delays their learning, development, and independence. It will impair their self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence, view of the world and their personal truth.
Disempowered kids will not know which direction to take if those in their environment mocked their every choice. As a disempowered child, I’ve spent over 30 years repairing that damage and seeking my personal power and voice. It’s been a long and exhausting journey.
We need to parent for the long game. In the short run, maybe limiting children’s ability to think is useful. It will surely limit back-talk and conflict. It will limit conversation and may even save time. For a few years your children may mindlessly follow, or maybe for a minute. The downside; however, before long they will not have you to follow.
It’s our job to teach them to think for themselves. We have to plan for the times we are not alongside our children. We will not always be there. In fact, in just 5 short years we will not be alongside them. Our time is limited, there is much to do.
Please empower your children.