Parental Branding: That’s a Thing?
It feels like I’m about ¾ of the way through my technology Ph.D. for my upcoming webinar. Learning how to pull all of this off requires a ton of reading. This morning I was reading an article about Domain Authority, a type of branding that caused me to begin thinking about parental branding.
As I’ve been going through this tech process, I automatically rely on something that’s often over-looked in parenting.
I’m relying on something that can inform me as to whether or not the information I’m finding is accurate? Whether it’s right for me, for my business, and for the parents I serve? I’m relying on my guts.
Believe it or not, branding happens in parenting too.
I think of parental branding as the part of your parenting that speaks to the identity of your family. What values are important to you? Who you are, and who you aren’t as a family? What you believe, and what you don’t believe about the way to treat others?
There’s a lot of family branding happening today. It’s Easter and Passover. Families all around the world are passing traditions and beliefs on to their children. You’re sending your family brand out into the world through another generation, your children.
There’s another aspect to family branding. The other kind of branding teaches kids how to trust something that answers questions like, “Is this true for me? Can I trust this person? Can I trust what they’re saying?” That’s called “gut’ branding.
“Gut” branding is crucial to a child’s ability to correctly pick and choose what works for them, and what doesn’t work for them in this world.
“Gut” branding helps a child discern between the truths and values that are automatically passed down through the family system, and the truths and values that ring true for them as an individual. I’m not talking about religious values or beliefs here. Although for some people, religion, and religious beliefs, fall into that category.
Take a moment and close your eyes. Travel back in your mind’s eye to when you were a child. What things did your parents say and do, that you rejected, because you knew it wasn’t a fit for you?
Your kids will do the same thing with your beliefs and values. The question is, will you let them?
So, how do you pass “gut” branding on to your children?
You honor what’s true for them. You tell them to trust that small-still-voice-within, that’s always there to guide them. You teach them how to find it. You tell them you have to stop, breathe, and listen for it, that’s how you find it.
You create opportunities to let them learn, as you support them, by saying, “I believe in you, and your ability to know what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s true for you.”
Doing that transfers responsibility for true learning from you, to your child, while you keep a watchful eye, and are ready to guide or help, if need be.
We all began parenting by using instinctual parenting with our babies. We let them roll over when they were ready. We trusted them to know when the right time was. We also put our hand out, so they didn’t hurt themselves. We did that when they wanted to climb something that challenged our need to protect them. We stood guard, but we let them do it. And then we celebrated the fact that they trusted their inner knowingness, their guts, enough to take the risk.
But then we stopped!
As kids get older, we stop trusting their “guts.” I’m not saying to let them walk into the street, or forgo their homework, or stay out way past curfew. What I am saying, is to reframe the situation, and bring it back around to “What do your guts have to say about this?” And then, let them learn.
As parents, you still have a job to do. You never let your kids learn from something you know is harmful or dangerous. But you can let them learn from many, many other situations. However, you still have to tell your kids when you don’t agree with their choice. And, wise parents also say, “I may not agree with your choice, but I will let you learn from your choice. Make sure to check in with yourself, every step of the way, to see if your choice is really right for you.”
You’re passing on your values to your child by saying, “I don’t agree with that choice.” And, you’re teaching your child that she, and she alone, is responsible for the choices she makes in this life, and that it’s her job to learn from her choices. But you also want her to know that she is never totally alone as she makes a choice, she always has inner guidance, her “guts,” to help her.
Did you love it? Did you hate it? Do you agree? Let me know in the comment.
Happy Easter. Happy Passover. Happy e-n-d- of Spring Break.