Today’s email brought me an announcement from Oprah, Deepak Chopra and Marie Forleo about intuition and meditation.
That got me thinking about a question a parent asked me, “What is the best way for me to introduce intuition to my child?”
Hmmm. There are many ways to introduce the concept of intuition to a child. How you do it depends on what you believe, and how you access your own intuition?
You want this to be a natural conversation between you and your child. Your child will glean details from your tone of voice and modeling. They’ll learn by watching and listening to how you apply intuition to the decisions you have to make in life.
If you’ve never thought about your intuition, then these ideas will be helpful to you as well.
Step One: What is intuition?
Intuition is most often that feeling you get when something is off. It can, of course, be a feeling that’s telling you to go for it, too.
Francis P Cholle wrote an article for Psychology Today explaining intuition as, “A gut feeling—or a hunch—is a sensation that appears quickly in consciousness (noticeable enough to be acted upon if one chooses to) without us being fully aware of the underlying reasons for its occurrence.”
When introducing this concept to your child you could say, “It’s your inner bells, whistles, and alarms telling you something isn’t right or you shouldn’t do something.”
The reason we first teach kids that intuition is about being alerted when you’re headed down the wrong path, is because that warning system is loud and unmistakable, therefore it’s a good way to introduce a child to intuition and how it works.
When my kids were 13 and 10 I taught them the term, “Shit Detector.” They of course loved that term because they could say the words shit. Hubby and I made it very clear they could only use the word shit in the context of a conversation about intuition.
You may remember a story I’ve told about Tall (my older son) when he was backpacking in Europe. His “shit detector” went off while walking in a market in Greece. He instinctively reached around to check his wallet, only to find a woman with her hand in his pocket attempting to lift his wallet! Lesson learned, when traveling put wallet in hidden belt!
Step Two: Finding Your Intuition
It takes time to get familiar with the intuition process. Actually, it takes adults longer to get in touch with their intuition than it does for kids.
Kids have to make decisions everyday knowing, and feeling, like their parents are looking over their shoulder. They know that creepy feeling of, “Uh Oh” that rises up to inform them when they’re about to enter into a situation they shouldn’t be in.
On the other hand, adults tend to resist the concept of checking in with themselves to see if a decision is a good one.
Step Three: How Do I Hear my Intuition?
One of the best ways I know to begin experiencing intuition is to go from a calm and focused state, to asking a question about the situation, so you can see how your body reacts.
Most of the time you won’t hear your mind talking to you, you’ll just get a feeling, aka the shit detector, the bells and whistles go off.
Creating a calm state for kids could mean going outside for some physical activity, or reading a book, or watching a video, so they’re not focused on the situation, then having them asking themselves, “Should I do this?” paying attention to any signals their body sends them as they ask that question.
For an adult it could mean going for a drive, or meditating, or reading a book, then thinking about the issue at hand to see how your body feels.
Step Four: The Signs
The signals you want to make your child aware of when their intuition is trying to tell them something are: a tight tummy, breathing fast, or a sense of uh, oh as they think about the situation. You can even give them a visual to guide them, “When you think about doing (blank) does it feel like you’re dragging a team of horses behind you? Because if does, that’s your intuition saying, this is not a good idea!
On the other hand, if after considering the situation you feel enthused, free, hopeful, light, or calmer, that’s a pretty good sign that your intuition is giving you the thumbs up.
Step Five: Application
Everything in life has a lesson attached to it. Following your intuition does not give you a “get out of jail free” card. Sometimes life guides us down a path specifically to teach us a lesson. It’s the same for kids, too. Teach them not to stop trusting their intuition if the outcome ended up being different than they thought it would be.
Model how to access your intuition in front of your kids. When they ask you if they can do (blank) tell them, “You know I’m not sure about that. So I’m going to take a moment and check in with myself because my intuition is telling me something doesn’t feel right, maybe you should do the same thing.”
Raising kids means teaching them some things now, when they don’t seem to need it, so they can be practiced and ready to rely on those skills when they do need them.
Also, are you looking for intutive ways to parent? Then Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be is for you!