Life Skills for Children A-Z – I is for Inner Voice

Each and every one of us has an “inner voice”. A voice that lives in our heads and aims to protect us from all that is evil in the world (and a lot of what is good too).

Whenever you learn something new or need to stretch yourself a little, your “inner voice” is there either encouraging you or, more usually, advising you to “let it be, you’ll never win it/learn it/achieve it.” or “don’t even go there, it’ll take far too much effort”.

Sadly, your “inner voice” is more than a little bit lazy and really doesn’t want you to use any energy that might be “wasted”. It will try and convince you that you’re always right, you’ll never get that promotion so why try or distract you when you should be concentrating with thoughts on just about anything that might appear more interesting. Basically put, your “inner voice” will muddy any clear waters with self-doubts and falsehoods, as well as scary truths, whenever it can.

Children have “inner voices” too, their’s tell them much the same as your “inner voice” does. It will be distracting them from doing homework by tempting them to go out and play, convincing them at every turn that household or school responsibilities are boring, regurgitating sentences heard or read in magazines “childhood is a time for play they shouldn’t be working”. Their “inner voice” will be planting doubts in their heads “what do you know you’re just a child”. Their “inner voices” will also be working against you, “why should you go to bed earlier, they’re sat up watching TV” or “why should you go to school/tidy up your room/put dirty clothes in the basket, they don’t”.

In the same way as adults need to learn when and how to listen to their “inner voice”, we need to be teaching our children to keep their’s in check too.

From the one side an “inner voice” is good. It helps us to evaluate risks but, from another, we also need to learn when to listen and when to discipline it and tell it to have a little more courage.

So how do we teach our children when to listen to their “inner voice” and when to slap it into shape:

  • Look First at Yourself
    As we often spout, the first thing to do is look at yourself and make sure you’re in control of your own “inner voice”. Children learn by seeing and experience things through their parents. You need to set the right example.
  • Talk to THEIR “Inner Voice” for Them
    When they’re kicking up a fuzz about homework or household activities defying you or refusing to do as they are told remember that they too have an “inner voice”. Is your child really being naughty or it is their “inner voice” making itself heard?
  • Positive Thinking and Attitude
    Encourage them to think positively for themselves. Talk with them at one of your family meetings about the importance of believing in themselves, using the power of visualising themselves doing things and taking things step by step, always thinking “I CANDo it”, “I CANDo it”.
  • Teach Them to Ask
    Make them aware that it’s actually okay not to know something. The important thing is to know that they should never by afraid to ask. Find the right person and simply ask them their opinion. Just because an opinion is asked for, doesn’t mean they have to do it that way.
  • Remind Them They’re Learners
    Take a moment to remind them that they are “adults in training” and that means they will have doubts, concerns and failures but that their attitude towards these things and how they react to them is what will define their success later in life. Everyone fails and it’s through the failures they learn to be successful. Make sure they begin to understand that true failure is never having the courage to try.

Adults often have difficulty keeping their “inner voices” under control so don’t expect miracles. The concept of an “inner voice” is difficult to grasp and even when they do kids will need time to learn to listen to it when it’s appropriate but not to let it rule them. It’s so intrinsically linked to motivation, self-esteem and self-discipline, I suggest working on how to refresh yourself on those life skills too.

Have you every struggled with your “inner voice”. What successes have you had in teaching your child about when and how to listen to their “inner voice”. Why not send us a CANDo email and share.

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