Are the messages you're sending positive or negative?
From birth to seven years old, your children basically have an empty and open box on their shoulders, otherwise known as their mind, without the yet-to-be-developed ability to judge if something is right or wrong. As such, every single thing they experience is placed in that box and becomes the foundation for all their beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors; all of which affect how they will live their life and what struggles they will experience. That's why it is so important for parents to remember that every experience your children observe (even the ones you don't think they understand, as well as those from TV, movies and other media) have the potential to be life changing and directing ... in both positive and negative ways. This is true for all areas of life, but when it comes to lying the foundation for your children developing healthy attitudes about sex, their bodies, positive displays of affection, and about their innate value, here are three ways to make sure your example is a positive one:
Eliminate Your Own Issues
No one wants their children to grow up with the same body and self-confidence issues they once (or still) struggled with. As a parent, you are your child's first and most influential role model; how many times have your heard people say that they grew up to be just like their mother or father and they struggle in the same areas their parents always did? Children pick up on everything. Therefore, the only way to truly support your children is to eliminate your own body, self-confidence, and sexuality issues.
This can be challenging and uncomfortable, however, both your life and your children's will be better for your bravery. It is shockingly common for parents to put their kids needs before their own, even when this means the parents are unhappy or unfilled. But a happy and fulfilled parent (in all areas of life) is a better parent and, in turn, can better support the development of happier and healthier kids.
Be Aware Of How You Communicate About Sex
Did you know that only 7% of communication occurs with the words we use? The rest of your communication is largely unconscious (meaning we are unaware of what you are actually communicating) and results from your tonality and body language. Children who are not yet speaking can still understand these other forms of communication. Often when you think you are communicating one thing, you're actions and energy are communicating something entirely different.
For example: You and your spouse have a heated conversation about your sex life when your nonverbal child is in the room. You both probably assume your child doesn't understand anything, but you're wrong. The child may not understand your words but, just like with every other experience, the feeling and impression left by the encounter will be stored in their memory bank with the potential to be life changing and directing. Become aware of how you communicate about sex, affection, and body image to your spouse, your friends and family, your kids, and even yourself. It does not matter how positive you attempt to be about these topics verbally, your true opinion will show through and your children may adopt that mindset as their own.
Support Their Sexual Curiosity
We are sexual beings from birth, which means parents need to get over the fact that your children touch themselves or asks curious questions about sex. These behaviors are all good things and your reaction to them are shaping their futures. For example: you spot your child casually touching themselves while playing and you say something like, "That's gross, stop it!", "You're not allowed to do that.", or "I never want to catch you doing that again!". In that moment, your child could make a life limiting decision such as it is not ok to touch myself or sexual curiosity is bad; and trust me, in my personal and professional experience, these limiting decisions stick.
So many parents react negatively to their children’s sexual curiosity because of their own negative beliefs and experiences. They say their children are too young for this behavior or information, and they don't understand what they are doing to their child with that response. Are your children ever too young to get to know and understand themselves? Are your children ever to young to develop confidence and self-esteem? Your children may not consciously understand and be able to articulate their reasons for their behavior but at the deepest level of their humanity they understand perfectly that this is natural and feels good. If you prevent your children from listening to their inner guidance and instincts, you are instilling a negative pattern that will continue into their future.
I truly believe that we, as humans, (and you as parents) do the best we can with the resources and knowledge we have available at the time. In another words, when we know better, we do better. You now have more information in your parental toolbox to support your beautiful babies in becoming the best they can be. Of course, your children are going to have experiences without you and please don’t go all overprotective parent on me. Focus on the experiences they have with you and what information they pick up from you. This appears to be another way that having children can make you a better person because what you want for them, you'd better be doing yourself.
I am not a parent and have minimal experience with raising children so some may assume I am not knowledgeable on this sensitive topic, but I assure you, I am. I was once a young child who was maturing, developing, and yes, sexually curious. I now recognize how negative past experiences were directly linked to the struggles I have faced. I am now an expert on the mind, how it creates our reality, and, of course, how one can use it to design a life they love (in all areas). As a coach and trainer of coaches, I am regularly working with beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that are rooted in early childhood experiences.
Do you have any experiences from childhood that are negatively affecting your life today? Have you ever wondered if it is possible to eliminate their affects? Head over to the launch of JanelleFraser.com on Oct.6th and download your free copy of “What the heck is my unconscious mind?” and discover just what is possible for yourself. In the meantime, head over to my YouTube channel Janelle Fraser TV and get your dose of self-understanding today.