What We Wish Our Parents Knew When We Were Younger

Family holding hands

Even if we had the best upbringing the world has to offer, we’re all sure to have had experienced misunderstandings with our parents and/or caregivers.


And many times the conflict we encounter with our parents is due to our desire to become and maintain our truest selves.


Our parent(s) may often knowing or unknowingly base their desire for us to behave in a certain way on their own need to control the circumstances around them, all the while presenting it as a universal truth. As a child we are of course unable to identify this behavior and that can have a far fetching negative result.


MirroringAccording to the Healthy Sense of Self book, “Mirroring is an unconscious feedback that parents, caregivers, or others provide to children in a specific crucial period of the child’s development.”


Mirroring, when adequately done, shows us as a child who we truly are. It leaves us at ease with ourselves. But often times this mirroring effect can cause us to get the wrong impression of who and what our true self really is.


Certain “message[s] of our caregivers can cause the Mirror to be distorted but the children nevertheless conclude that they are the reflection they receive from the mirror.”

Natural Sense of Self


These mirrors prevent us from developing a Natural Sense of Self, which the Healthy Sense of Self book defines as “the subconscious sense—developed normally in childhood—of being a ‘real’ definite person, who has an unconditional right to exist as he or she is, regardless of what others think, feel, or say.”



If our parents only knew what it takes to promote a Natural Sense of Self in both themselves and in us as children…. Here’s our list of what we hope all parents know now:


  1. Acknowledge the child. Children need to be given attention—they need to be heard and they need to be seen. Properly and consciously acknowledging our children’s own independent existence is vital to the creation of a Natural SoS.
  2. Allow for Self-expression. It’s not enough just to hear a child—especially if we constantly are dictating what words are acceptable to come from their mouths – we need to actually listen to them. When we give our kids the right to express themselves as soon as they can speak, we give them the ability to form their own Natural Sense of Self.
  3. Promote the formation of personal opinions. Back to that whole not-dictating-what-children-have-to-say thing: if we allow our kids to form their own opinions in life, we also give them an opportunity to understand their own likes and dislikes, which leads them closer to their truest desires and selves.
  4. Draw out potential. Being able to recognize the natural talents of our children and encourage them to express such talents reinforces the concept in our children that who they are is both worthwhile and unique. These qualities help develop a Natural Sense of Self that will last a life time.
  5. Be there. Remaining focused on our children while we are in their presence is absolutely critical. We must eliminate distractions like cell phones, TV, computers and whatever else can get in the way of simple listening. It’s not enough to be at the little league game…you have to cheer at every swing and sit on the edge of your seat at every base steal.

To learn more about how to get a Healthy Sense of Self be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and check out our online Healthy Sense of Self-Help! course.

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