We certainly don’t mean to wound our children. When we judge our kids, our intentions are often out of love and because we think that we know what’s best, but you cannot mix judgment with love. As soon as you judge, even if it is in the name of caring, love is no longer present. Our parents judged us out of love so we have entangled love and judgment together but it is time to dis-entangle, and free our children from the emotional prison of judgment.
Often we don’t even realize when we are judging. Judgment includes criticizing style, attitude and personality and focusing on what you don’t like about your child, her behavior, or any issues of lack or not being enough. If your child closes up or snaps at you, there is a good chance that she feels judged. Much of what we consider normal adolescent “bad behavior” is really a result of kids feeling judged and disrespected by adults.
Judging your child for not living up to his potential is really just a nice way of saying your child is not living up to your expectations. It is hard to believe but some children would rather die than disappoint a parent.
Even if you don’t verbalize judgment, your children can still feel it in your energy. You cannot hide judgment – it goes out energetically in your field and everyone feels it, even if you think that you are keeping it to yourself.
Making Kids Powerless
No where do we teach children about their intrinsic power as creators. Instead we teach them that they are not powerful and they can’t be trusted.
- When we don’t encourage our children to make their own choices, they get the message that they are powerless, and as a result they are cut off from their intrinsic power to later create the lives they desire.
- When we don’t trust our kids to make the right choices or even to make the right mistakes, they learn that they cannot trust themselves.
- When we force our children to do things against their will, we train them to do what they are told, rather than listen to their own inner being.
What Your Child Does to Himself
With so much stress and pressure from the outside world, to do well in school and to fit in, children take it all on and do to themselves what the world is doing to them. In other words, they worry with chronic persistence which results in tremendous stress.
As we are not meant to live in fear every day, too much of this stress can result in physical and mental disease. The body, however, has a defense mechanism against the chronic stress caused by incessant worry. That defense mechanism is depression. Depression also allows a child to shut down the negative input from those around him.
Why Children Lie…
If you punish or judge your children when they tell you a truth that you don’t like, they will ultimately lie to you. This means that if your child lies to you, it is your fault. At any age, if you feel as if you will be judged because you have been judged by this person in the past, even if it is your mother or father, you are going to lie in order to protect yourself from judgment – from what feels like rejection, and a sentence of unworthiness.
It is a much better parenting strategy to raise children who feel as if they can talk to you about anything. This means that whatever happens or whatever they do, they can sit down and openly speak with you, without worrying that you will judge them or tell them what to do. And, then you get to be an influential parent – by really really listening, offering love and compassion, and guidance.
You are not going to stop your kids from having sex or doing drugs if they want to, but if you cut off the lines of communication because you judge them, you won’t have any ability to offer wisdom, guidance or support. Your kids will basically be making their own choices without you on their side.
It is inevitable that your children will face some big decisions in their young lives. Would you rather be a parent with whom your children can speak and ask for guidance, or a parent they can’t open up to?
Yes, your children will likely experiment in ways that make you feel uncomfortable but that is part of growing up. You can provide so much more as parent if you are a parent your kids can trust “not to judge.”
Your most important tool as a parent is communication – so, why in the world would you want to stifle it with your judgment? The only way that you can support your children to make good choices is if you are a good model for self-empowerment and the lines of communication are open. Open communication is priceless.