So Your Child Wants to be an Artist? Relax, Don’t Worry

You want your child to lead a happy and successful life. How you interpret success and happiness may vary widely, however. How your child interprets these words and the feelings represented by them may vary even more.art

For many families, success is defined in terms of financial success, but even financial success can mean a lot of different things as well.

What parent wants to see their child struggle to pay the rent or put food on the table?

It may not be that your vision of financial success means your child having a six-figure income, but it probably includes them living on their own without needing regular influxes of cash from Mom and Dad in order to survive.

So what happens if your child comes to you and tells you that they want to be an artist? What thoughts begin racing through your head?

Are you excited glad that they have something they’re passionate about, knowing that their talent will carry them? Or are you concerned that they’ll be living in a hovel and face daily struggles for safety and survival?

For hundreds of years, parents have had to face the idea of their children pursuing the arts. Despite the risks, parental protests, and even the threat of being financially cut off, many of these children still choose to follow their hearts.

Some artists have a passion for the arts, but aren’t able to pursue their dreams until later in life. Other children are determined to follow their dreams earlier, with or without parental support or approval. Parents may disapprove entirely of a career in the arts or may only approve if their child fits within a specific mold.

Paul Gauguin followed several careers in order to first please his family and then his wife’s family. He had to return to painting full-time several times in his life. It was in his nature and part of his core being that had to be expressed despite the challenges that it created.

Painter Édouard Manet’s father was adamantly opposed to his son having a career in art to the point where Manet left for Paris to pursue his dream while still in his teens.

Singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson’s parents disowned him when he turned down a position to teach literature at West Point in order to devote himself to songwriting.

Katy Perry fashioned her musical career even though it still isn’t in harmony with her parents’ religious careers as evangelical Christian pastors and musician Miles Davis wasn’t met with approval of his choice in career. It was just that his mother thought he ought to play a stringed instrument rather than the trumpet. His father hoped he would become a dentist.

Fortunately, all of these artists persevered and have created art that’s influenced countless others and these are only a few examples.

Will your child struggle and suffer? Will their career soar or flounder? Is it a good idea for them to have a Plan B in case their art career fails? Or would it be smart for them to take another job and pursue music in their free time? Would a job in the field or something related to their field be as fulfilling and safer?

You can’t know what the absolute best path for anyone else is even if that other person is your own child. What you can do is tap into your Internal Guidance System (IGS) and encourage your child to tap into theirs as well in order to help discover their best path.

Whether your child will becomes rich and famous in their lifetime is uncertain. Are the odds in their favor? Maybe not. If you worry about it, it probably won’t make one bit of difference. And if you encourage your child to abandon their dreams in exchange for financial security, they may never find the one thing you want them to find in life: happiness.

If you can leave your personal preferences aside and let joy be your guide, then you’ll find the right path. Passing this ideal onto your prospective artist is the best thing you can do for them.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

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Raising Lucky Kids

fortune keyIt seems like some people are born lucky while others constantly have a dark cloud swirling overhead. How does a parent help ensure that their children have that lucky star? Luck is largely a result of one’s attitude and fortunately, that’s something that you can change.

Tom Brokaw is an example of a person who’s led a charmed life, but that’s not to say that his life has been without challenges.

In August of 2013, he was diagnosed with cancer, but at 75 years old, he’s had so many ups than downs that even his friends refer to his luck as “Brokaw’s lucky star.”

Being born in the right family at the right time is a big help when it comes to finding success in life, but luck goes beyond your circumstances. Brokaw offers tips that you can use to improve your luck and raise your own kids under their own lucky stars.

Mistakes

Everyone makes them. Lucky people learn from their mistakes and sometimes being lucky means recognizing the mistake early on so you can minimize the consequences. Other times, being lucky means getting a message from someone you care about and heeding it. And then there’s the matter of just learning a lesson from the mistake itself. In that sense, there are no mistakes because you might have needed that hiccup in order to learn something that’ll lead to your later success.

As a parent, you may want to keep your kids from making mistakes when in turn, that may be your biggest mistake yet. When you love your kids with their mistakes and all, they feel safer and are better equipped to live their lives to the fullest.

Opportunity

Brokaw admits that some of his luck came because he took advantage of opportunities when they arose. By listening to his Internal Guidance System (IGS), he was able to take on new challenges with confidence even when he didn’t think he wanted to make a move. This brought him to be in Berlin at the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was a high point in his career.

Teach your kids to tap into their IGS so they can recognize great opportunities. When you go with the Universal flow, you’re more likely to have an abundance of luck. As the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

Attitude

By keeping a positive attitude, you can create your own luck. You’re open to opportunities and experiences when you face the day looking up rather than down. Feeling confident that you can handle any situation allows for many adventures.

Raise your kids to try a variety of things. Show them to take some risks – start small and build their confidence while they tap into their IGS to steer them towards what they want and away from what they don’t want. This builds up their positive attitude “muscle.”

Pay attention as you teach your kids to make their own luck. Let go of the idea of perfection — people aren’t perfect. Let yourself make mistakes every now and then, but learn from them. Notice the opportunities that come your way and keep your own attitude up. While you’re raising lucky kids, you may just notice your own lucky star shining brightly in the sky as well.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Coaching and Mentoring Teens: IGS vs Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a powerful influence in the life of every child and has the potential to significantly impact a child’s attitudes and behaviors.  As parents, we long to have our children learn how to be more independent and make autonomous decisions.  While most parents want their children to appreciate their unique qualities, individuality, and to be able to think for themselves, the reality is that most children want to be just like their friends.  Image

A key role for parents is coaching and mentoring our children. As we encourage our kids to become their own person, we are often met with resistance along the way. Fortunately, we know that once they learn to use and trust their Internal Guidance System (IGS), we can feel confident in our kids’ ability to handle peer pressure as they mature into teens and adults.

When children learn how to access their internal guidance system, they will instinctively check in with who they truly are and how they are really feeling—even when friends may be trying to lead them in a different direction.

One challenging scenario is when your child presents you with “all-the-other-kids-are–doing–it” argument. This is often a signal that, although they know they should be tuning into their internal guidance system, they feel conflicted, and are struggling with listening and following their IGS. When this situation arises, you can help support and guide your child in the direction of his true self so he does not feel obligated to cave in to peer pressure.

Here are some important supportive messages you can offer to your child:

  • Remind him to speak his own truth. Your child has the right to, and should express, those things that feel good and right for him.
  • Coach your child to take notice of how he feels while in the presence of, and talking with, friends.
  • Teach your child to notice the difference between the words he is saying and how he feels after saying those words.
  • Suggest your child observe his friends, be clear about what they are doing, and check with his IGS to determine what he wants to do, and accept that their paths may be different.
  • Finally, he should notice how he is feeling when thinking about an action his friends are engaging in, or proposing to take.  Does it make him feel happy, sad, scared?

Teaching our children early in life how to access and trust their Internal Guidance System gives them time to practice and develop the skill, and confidence to act on their IGS. This allows them to integrate these practices into their lives, so that by the time that they reach high school, they can rely on their IGS and more easily deal with peer pressure.

Teenage Internal Guidance System: Parenting and the Law of Attraction

The teenage years present a specific set of challenges for all parents.  We want our kids to excel in school because grades and test performance are important factors for college entrance.  We tend to tell them that their high school years are critical to their future success, and that for their own good, we expect them to measure up.  ImageParenting according to the law of attraction teaches us that our job is to all our children to learn to rely on their internal guidance system.

Is it realistic to put those high expectations on our kids when their brains are not yet fully formed or engaged? In our culture, teenagers get zero credibility or support for using their own internal guidance system. There are probably many parents who would deny that their teenager even has an internal guidance system. It is an unfortunate view to take as a parent, because at this age, it is especially important that a teen use, fine-tune, and trust their IGS.

Encouraging your teen to trust and follow their IGS can be extremely frustrating for parents because we can’t help but notice when our kids make choices that we believe are not in their best interest. Interestingly enough, we also notice that we have absolutely no control over some of these choices. 

It is important to remember as a parent, that when your kid puts off an important assignment until the last minute, or goofs off the night before an exam, they will learn the lessons they need to learn if you have taught your kid about his or her IGS.  Your child will learn quickly that a lack of study and effort produces poor results.  If your kid doesn’t care about results, so be it.  If your child does care about results he or she will listen to their IGS and allot more time for study and preparation for the next project or exam. 

It is challenging to let your kids find their own way and make their own decisions when you do not agree with them. It is even harder to watch them seemingly fail. When you try to push against behavior you disapprove of and to guide your children to what you think is their highest choice, it generally turns out to be a futile fight.  Children of any age benefit most when we relax and stop trying to control their behavior and experiences.

Remember that by experiencing what they don’t want, kids more clearly define what they do want. Sometimes life is not all about making the highest choice on the first go round. We are here to evolve and grow, and part of that evolution includes learning what we do not want so we can discover what we do want.

Parenting: The Universal Law of Attraction and Self-Esteem

One of the ways you can use the Universal Law of Attraction when you parent is by building your child’s self-esteem. The Universal Law of Attraction states that what you think and believe creates your reality.  This core belief is vital in developing your child’s healthy self-esteem.Image

Developing your own strong sense of high self-esteem is important, too, because parents are the natural mirror through which children experience their own worth. How you act toward your child has a great impact on their own self-esteem.

Take time every day to be grateful for your children.  Support them to develop into the wonderful human beings you want them to be by speaking supportive words. Praise is powerful! When your child tries his or her best to do something, praise their effort, regardless of how well they do it.  If it something the child really wants to do, encourage them to keep at it, and to follow their dreams.

Make time to integrate discussion about the power of thoughts and dreams, too. It is important that your children learn early on that our thoughts are important. Then, help them to understand that our ability to choose the direction of our thoughts is of great value. We can choose to think positively or we can choose to have negative thoughts. What we choose to focus on and believe will determine what we experience.

An exercise you can do with your children is to have them write out several negative statements and then have them rephrase what they have written as positive statements. If they have trouble doing this, provide some helpful hints.

Print out the following mantra or create your own and hang it in a very visible spot where the family spends time, or place several copies around the house where children can read the statement and reflect on it:

Thoughts are the beginning of all things. I have the power to choose my thoughts. I will choose to focus on positive thoughts.

Ask your children to write down three things they love about themselves. Write down three things you love about your children and compare lists. Celebrate those things and encourage their positive traits.

Treat your children with respect and always love them unconditionally.  Positive actions will help to shape and support their emerging self-confidence.  By helping them understand their own power and supporting them in the things they want to do, we help them to develop a strong sense of self-esteem.