“Embrace your awesomeness!” This has become my new mantra lately. It’s actually an expression I heard in the movie Another Cinderella Movie. Confident, strong Tami (my favorite character, of course), is trying to get her best friend Mary to see what everyone else see’s, that she is a great and talented dancer. And in an exasperated frustrated tone, Tami says “embrace your awesomeness.”
Getting our kids to believe in themselves and to stop hiding their awesomeness can be a challenge. There is incredible pressure on our kids to conform and adhere to the social standards. This pressure plus the fear of being rejected or embarrassed often holds our kids back from getting involved, expressing themselves authentically, and doing great things. And leaves us parents frustrated when they pass on great opportunities or find ways of conveniently not getting involved. Here are some tips to help you help your kids “embrace their awesomeness.”
Embrace Your Own Awesomeness
Are you embracing your awesomeness or are you continually downplaying your strengths, accomplishments, and achievements? You need to let your kids see you being proud of your accomplishments, taking chances, and being everything YOU were meant to be. If you are hiding behind excuses, always making safe choices, and downplaying your achievements, you are modeling exactly what you don’t want to let happen to your kids. So make sure you are walking the talk, or your kids will never embrace their own awesomeness.
Let Them Define It
Your kids need to define their own path. No matter how much we want them to become a Broadway star or top business executive, we have to let our kids figure out who they are and their own awesomeness. You can do this by exposing them to different and new opportunities, limiting how much time they spend doing mindless things like watching TV or playing video games, and encouraging them when you see that spark that lights them up. Remember, kids’ accomplishments always have to be about the kids not the parent.
Make It Safe for Them
Embracing their awesomeness doesn’t have to be done on a public stage. If your kids are shy or uncomfortable in the spot light, help them find ways of doing what they are good at in a more quiet behind the scenes way. Or try negotiating up front how long they have to give something a try before giving it up. Just by knowing ahead of time they are not committed for life to trying something will help make it safe for them and hopefully easier for them to try. Building up confidence can take time, so give your kids the space and safety of exploring their strengths and talents in a way that works best for them.
Don’t Let Them Off the Hook
Our kids (especially teenagers) would probably prefer we just stop talking about it, but it’s important to not let them off the hook when you see them not living up to their potential. The trick is finding a way of keeping some pressure on them without it coming out as nagging. If you continually nag them about it, they will tune you out and probably rebel by doing nothing. So make sure you keep up with things going on in their school and in your community so that when you see an opportunity that may be good for them you can point it out and encourage them to give it a try.
Guiding our kids along the path of self discovery is not easy and we should NEVER do it for them, but as their parents who have watched them grow since birth, we are in a unique position to know our kids better than anyone else. We need to teach them to listen to themselves, believe in themselves, and if nothing else not be afraid to try. And they will do the rest.