Empowering a child comes with the territory and mindset of being an adult open to many factors of empowering kids.
From the importance of family, love, and having the financial resources to sustain young and growing lives – to learning how to adapt to conditions and circumstances in life.
And empowerment of child or empowerment child development is essential at the onset.
Home and family is that basic unit of the society that a child comes in contact with, at the very beginning of life. It is that unit which teaches the child the lessons of life.
The child will learn a lot of things throughout life, but the foundation of a life is set in the home unit.
A home usually consists of the parents (or the single parent) and the child or children.
In addition to providing food, shelter, and other basic amenities of life, the parents or parent also takes care of the emotional needs of the child or children.
The feeling of safety and security that the child feels in the home goes a long way in deciding the kind of social life the child will have as an adult.
The social behavior of the child starts to form while living with the parents and siblings and other relatives.
The process of metamorphosis is familiar to all of us. The caterpillar or larva hides inside the cocoon, transforms itself into a butterfly or a moth and flies away.
That process which seems to be difficult and tiresome for people who watch it from outside, actually gives the butterfly’s wings the strength to fly.
That process determines the butterfly’s future. If the process is interrupted or disturbed, the butterfly will never fly.
Similarly, a child undergoes a metamorphosis inside the home and flies away to face the real world waiting outside.
How confident the child feels walking out alone depends on the qualities he or she has developed until then.
A healthy and clean metamorphosis will entail the child to a smooth and empowered life ahead.
An interrupted process of development can lead to a disturbed life ahead.
Fortunately, for human beings , we can mend our ways any time and feel empowered to live a life of our choice.
And thankfully we are given many chances of metamorphosis in our life.
But, if that process happens earlier on in childhood, the child gets to fly and experience the world outside sooner and for a longer time.
Home – The Foundation Of Empowerment
Since the precious years of development of the child are spent with the family, it becomes the foundation of empowerment in a child’s life.
A child’s views about life, education, success, failure, risks, opportunities, mistakes, etc., are formed while living within the home and with family members.
The influence that family members have on a child is immense and so is the responsibility of the parent adult.
Let us look at some ways to empower our children.
How Can We Empower Our Children?
An empowered child grows up into an empowered adult. It is said that children are easier to mould. In that case why not work on the children when at that age to get the desired results.
Some steps to empower our children would be:
Entrust Them With Tasks
As soon as the child can independently perform activities, it is a good idea to entrust the child with small chores or tasks. It is important to let the child do it independently.
Supervise only if necessary. That trust empowers the child and makes him or her believe that he or she can do tasks independently.
Enable The Child To Do The Task
Once a task is assigned, it is important to make sure that the child has the required skills and tools to perform the task.
If that involves teaching the child to use an appliance or to read the instructions, it is worth investing that time into teaching the child.
It makes it clear to the child that in order to feel empowered to do a certain task, it is important to acquire the necessary skills.
Create A Learning Environment
If the child knows the importance of education, in order to feel empowered, he or she will never quit learning.
A learning environment can be created by regularly talking about the importance of learning and by the adults leading by example.
If they see an adult always eager to learn new things, that becomes the child’s way of being .
Engage In Conversations With Them
Regular conversations with the child on varied topics is a very healthy practice.
Treating their opinions and suggestions with gravitas and considering them while making decisions, builds self confidence in the child and hence empowers him or her.
That child will not be scared of putting forward his or her opinion in a group or gathering.
Reward Them For Their Accomplishments
Who doesn’t like rewards for accomplishments! A task done well always calls for a reward.
When the child has accomplished a task, he or she should get good treatment in words and deeds. They associate that treat with the feeling of accomplishment and it becomes a big motivator.
Success breeds success and hence it is important for the child to remember that feeling of success or accomplishment.
Reiterate Their Strengths
Children have always reacted very well to positive reinforcements.
Rather than focusing on what they cannot do, when there is reiteration on what they can do, children thrive.
That boosts their morale and empowers them to perform much better. It even helps them overcome their fears and anxieties.
Encourage Them To Take Up More Responsibilities
Fear of making mistakes can stop a child from taking any risks in life.
That fear can be handled to a great extent when they are taught that it is okay to make mistakes and thus, owning up their own mistakes can be a source of empowerment.
It is also important to divert their attention to learning from those mistakes.
Thus the learning from the mistake becomes more important than talking about the mistake itself.
There is a saying that our children will tend more to follow our example, rather than our given advice.
If the adult or parent in the family doesn’t behave in an empowered manner, if he or she is always playing victim to circumstances, then it is possible that the child ends up doing the same.
Blaming everything on external factors and lack of opportunities can be a trait that the child easily picks up from the adult. It becomes a reason for self pity and inaction.
Some of the key habits of the adults in the family which can become a source of inspiration for the child growing up in the home are:
Owning Up One’s Mistakes
Like mentioned in the earlier section, having the courage to own up one’s mistakes, say sorry and then move on, is a great quality.
It takes away the fear of making mistakes. It pronounces that it is okay to make mistakes.
What is important is how we learn from them and then move on.
If a child can learn this from the adults in the house, then he or she is empowered for life.
Creating Opportunities For Oneself And For Others
The new meaning of an empowered person is not only leading an empowered life and influencing others.
It is also about creating opportunities for others and empowering them to lead a better life.
If a child sees this environment at home, he or she will imbibe it into themselves completely.
Constantly Learning New Things
The person who thinks to himself that he knows everything is ill-advised.
In other words, there is no end to learning.
The learning could be about a new skill, honing a hobby, or learning spiritual practices.
An atmosphere of continuous learning at home will encourage the child to inherit that quality.
Positivity And Optimism Towards Work And Life
A child who has grown up in an optimistic and positive home environment will lean more towards positivity and optimism.
What better gift can the family give a child than these?
It not only gives the child a head start, it empowers the child to believe in his or her abilities. For well begun is half done.
Thus, by taking steps to empower the child in the family, the adult or parent also leads an empowered life.
No parent wants the child to become a failure in life. No parent wants the child to not feel empowered to do whatever he or she wants to do.
These factors become very important self motivators for the parent.
Home with family members is the first and basic unit of the society with which a child interacts.
Hence, the environment of the home and the characteristics of the family members play an important role in how empowered the child feels.
An empowered child naturally grown up into an empowered adult and that adult will in turn empower more people.
A child follows the example of the parent or adult in the house and so it is important for the adult in the family to empower oneself.
An ideal family life thus not only creates empowered children, it also forces the adults to feel and behave in an empowered manner.
Thus, a family in a home forms a mutually beneficial relationship between people of different age groups, where each person becomes a source of empowerment for the other.
Each person grows with learning, implementing and practicing the ways to lead an empowered life in the world outside the safety and security of the home.
Contributors: Deepa Kadavakat and Kazim Abasali