Moment Of Clarity

Self-Awareness: Building Healthy Children

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“It is easier to build a child than it is to repair an adult.” ~Frederick Douglass 

In working with parents for over 20 years, there is only one thing they can do to make life harder than it has to be for their children: not teach them how to be self-aware.

Self-awareness is the fundamental cornerstone for early development and involves knowing what fuels your desires, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and connecting fully to your emotions. The more self-aware we are, the more control we can affect over our lives and the greater responsibility we take for our choices and actions.

With self-awareness being so powerful, it is no wonder why possessing it is crucial to effectively managing relationships and achieving goals when we become adults.  The more we can see and accept ourselves without shame, the more we can see our impact in the world: good and bad. And, from there, we can become active in affecting change.

Taking responsibility for our choices allows us to experience healthy control over our lives. It also gives us room to allow others to make their own choices and be responsible for those choices. Self-awareness allows people to develop compassion for others. When we are aware of and accept our own emotions and struggles, we can empathize with another when we see them struggle. Judgments are reserved and teachable moments increase.

Below are three tips to developing self-awareness in your child – and adults, too!

1)   Allow your child to feel. Help your child identify their emotions without shame. Create a safe environment that allows your child to feel emotions fully and release them appropriately. Afterward, you can ask your child to imagine how his choice or behavior may have impacted another person or situation. This can help your child take responsibility without the shame and learn how he impact the world around him. In essence, this teaches him that they matter.

2)   Allow your child to explore. Ask your child to consider other choices that may have yielded different or better results. She can begin learning how to come up with different options and identify more than one way to solve a problem. More importantly, she can begin learning how to make a choice on how to behave that could lead to a preferred outcome – a.k.a. negotiation.

3)   Allow your child to try and fail. Encourage your child to try his idea and if need be … fail. Yes, that’s right – FAIL. When someone fails, he learns a lot about how to be successful and insightful. Praising your child for being determined, brave, creative, and committed in his effort reduces the shame that comes with failing and allows him space to reflect on what he has learned. Remember, no one is perfect so it’s important that you teach him to be graceful in all things, even his shortcomings.

Do you have some tips to share with our readers on how they might consider developing self-awareness? Please share them below! With love and light … Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!