I found myself chatting about the benefits of getting old with the sales lady in Marks & Spencer today. It’s my 60th birthday and we decided that the older you get the less you don’t worry what other people think of you.
That got me thinking about how when my children were young I used to be very concerned about what other people thought about them , me and my parenting skills. I now realise that this is not helpful. It put me under a lot of pressure and it didn't encourage my children to consider their actions.
By worrying about what other people think I am not going to be doing what is best for my child. For instant if my child is running around in the supermarket (not bothering anyone) and because I am worrying about what other people think of me, I am likely to tell the child off. My focus is not on what is best for my child but on what other people are thinking of me or my child.
It isn’t that I want my child not to care about what people think, that isn’t the point. The point is that their worth and value is not a function of what others think.
What we need to teach our children is, to consider what the consequence of what they are about to do, is. To ask themselves “Can I live with the consequences?” We need to encourage them to look inside and consider what might happen If I do this or that. It allows children to take responsibility for their lives and to look inside and not outside (worrying about what other people think).
Fast forward to their teenage years....
So instead of doing things as teenagers, like having unprotected sex or getting into a car with someone who has been drinking, they are not worried about what their peer group think - they will consider the consequences and make better decisions.