How parents can help their children dare to dream
Every parent wants the best for their children. It is normal for them to offer support and encourage them to pursue their dreams and emerge the best in their chosen path. However, over the years the support of children from their parents has waned with many kids afraid to dream like before. As a therapist, I am noticing a change in kids that come to my counseling practice, with many of them dreaming less. It is now common to find children weighed down by life’s realities making it hard for them to freely dream and focus on their future hopes.
The power of kids dreaming “BIG”
Children of all ages should be encouraged to dream as BIG as possible. The ability to dream and see a future for themselves is important for their future goals. Parents that are aware of the impact of children dreaming can effortlessly steer them to their goal regardless of the obstacles along the way. The benefits of dreaming for children cannot be underestimated with the most important ones highlighted below.
It creates accountability – When children break down their goals into manageable sizes they can achieve them step by step. In most cases, success in reaching their goals one step at a time eventually leads to the fulfillment of their dreams.
It gives a clear life vision – Having a dream makes it easier for children to build a vision of their future and work towards it. When they know their goal, they will go after their dreams with more clarity.
It attracts the right opportunities – Allowing kids to dream beyond the available resources gives them a chance to spot opportunities that help them achieve it. Parents are also on the lookout for resources to help their children when they are aware of their dream.
How parents unknowingly kill their kids’ dreams
Dismissing your child’s dreams as unrealistic or silly may seem insignificant but it can quench their fire. Granted, most parents may not be aware that they are contributing to their child’s inability to dream of a great future by such a dismissal. As parents, it is important to be conscious of your reactions towards kids when they share their dreams, no matter how ridiculous they sound. If you are wondering whether you may have killed your child’s dream, here is a list to help you out.
You use discouraging words
Children are always excited to share their thoughts and dreams with their parents all the time. Granted, the dream story may be repetitive and “out of this world” it is important to support them. Avoid using words like “that will never happen” and “it’s been tried and failed” to avoid discouraging them. Instead, encourage your kids to go after dreams that bring out their natural gifts to increase their chances of success.
You expect too much
Parents can sometimes expect their children to move towards their future goals at a rapid rate. However, children have limitations on how fast they can grasp a concept or learn a new skill and should not feel like they are being rushed. It is important to let them move at their own pace so that the change is gradual and they can own their journey plus eventual success.
You focus on your unfulfilled dreams
Every parent knows their child very well and can easily pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. It is advisable to push them towards building their strengths and avoid trying to live your dreams through them. It is common to want them to learn to play an instrument that you loved or take part in activities that were out of reach for you. However, this ends up making them resent the activity and give up on their dreams altogether.
How you can help your child dream again
If you suspect that your child has given up on their future goals because of your actions or the weight of the world, you can help them dream again. Most times, the process will involve a conscious effort on the part of parents so that your children can go back to being creative and hoping for the best. Some simple ways to reignite their hopes and dreams are listed below.
Set a good example
Children watch what you do, more than hearing what you say. It is important to demonstrate the need to dream big by doing the same for your own goals. Take time to share your dream with your children and encourage them to do the same. Also, watch the way you talk to yourself and always focus on positive attributes so that they can adopt the same affirming self-talk.
Make dream diaries
Dream diaries are similar to vision boards for grown-ups. The diaries are a great way to let your child be creative by allowing them to draw images of the future. Creative parents can make the diaries together with their children or buy one from a craft store. As they get older, they can also go back and see their dreams and work on pursuing them.
Support their dream
Kids value the support of their parents in everything they do. If you have been unsupportive before, do your best to show that you are genuinely interested in their dream. You could start by buying them an item that contributes to the growth of their dream such as a musical instrument, sports equipment or even signing them up for an activity that interests them.
Teach them about failure
Having a dream does not guarantee success, and this is something kids should be told as they grow up. Parents should focus on the positive aspects of failure and teach their children to manage it better. The earlier your child learns to overcome obstacles to their dream, the more likely they are to succeed. Ultimately, parents should also continue to pursue their dreams and reach for their future goals with enthusiasm. Children that see their parents continuously dream of a better future will most likely dare to do the same.