Teaching kids self awareness

I recently attended a TA 101 workshop. TA or Transactional Analysis is ‘a rational approach to understanding behaviour and is based on the assumption that all induviduals can learn to trust themselves, think for themselves, make their own decisions, and express their feelings. Its principles can be applied on the job, in the home, in the classroom- wherever we deal with people’ Born to Win; Muriel James.

This course was extremely valuable for me and the multiple hats I wear – Parent, Team Leader, Holistic Practitioner, Daughter, Mother, Sister and Friend. Although the course which goes over a few months has just begun, it has already started making me aware of who I am, what has made me think, feel and act in certain ways, what motivates and drives me and most important – the consequences that my actions have on myself and on others. Self awareness, self understanding, self accepting and through that, self confidence are crucial to surviving in this tough, scary, competitive world that our generation lives in.

Our generation feels so much pressure, so much stress that we have been hit by the highest rates of infertility, cancer, breakdown of endocrine and digestive systems, skin disease and depression that have ever faced this earth. We have no coping skills to manage our emotions, balance life, believe in ourselves and in others around us. We are inundated by negative feelings of self inadequace, self doubt, guilt, anger, sadness and the consequences of these feelings are constant games that we play with ourselves and with the people we interact with. As a generation, we are adept at manipulating, bullying, coaxing, cajoling, crocodile crying as a means to our end. On the contrary, we challenge those positive emotions of pride, love, happiness; not believing that we are deserving of them, not believing that we are worthy. These coping mechanisms and tools are engrained in us from our childhood by the interactions we have and the messages (both verbal and non-verbal) that we receive from the people around us. As Parents and as Teachers, we have the power to shape the next generation, honing their skills to cope, to lead full and happy lives and so this is a job that must be taken seriously.

I was proud to hear that my children’s school Step by Step World is taking this on. Number One and I were chatting at bedtime as we always do, exchanging stories about our day and he told me about ‘Reflection Time’. I was ready for him to rattle off how him and his classmates recited a re-cap of all that they covered in class that day but I was pleasantly surprised. He said they discuss the things that they did in that day that they are happy about and would like to repeat and those that they are not happy about and promise to never do again. Here was my 6 year old son candidly talking about himself, tthinking about his actions, their impact, the things he was proud of and the things he needed to work on –  I was still too scared to admit this stuff to myself, forget out loud to someone else. Talk about self awareness!

As adults, we can keep working on ourselves, assuring ourselves that we are OK. As Parents and Teachers, we have a more important role, to teach our kids the same thing and to instill in them at an early age, the importance of belief in oneself, in others, the power of the messages we send out. I recommend TA certification for all teachers but until then – well done SBS – you’re on the right track!

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