are pressured, early on, to achieve as many awe-inspiring personal developments and
achievements as possible and this tension seems to be applied at younger ages
with each passing year. Well-meaning tiger parents, also known as authoritative
parents, exert considerable force on young children to be successful and to
bring honor to the family; schools and other institutions, wanting to keep
their reputations intact, create structures, deadlines and stringent study and
testing requirements, all with the intention of producing successful,
cognitively-advanced young people; corporations create tools to turn babies
into geniuses before they can even walk; society, in general, seems obsessed
with no-holds barred achievement at any cost. The more personal developments, the better
Have you taken a look at your child's list of personal developments and achievements lately? How does it look to you? It seems only fair to
kids if the highly-demanding adults in the world, as well as society at large would give them a fighting chance. Let’s face it, modern times are tough. The
industrial revolution is over in the west and in the east, it's just getting started. We are all now living in the knowledge economy or the information age. Global financial pressure is mounting.
For example, gone are the days when setting up a medical practice upon graduation from an Ivy League university was easy. Back then, you just hung out a shingle with your name on it and started seeing patients. Nowadays, physicians have to stay compliant in a fast-moving digital world; they have to stay abreast of medical classification list updates from the World Health Organization; they have to stay profitable in the face of declining reimbursements from the government and pressure from insurance companies and the list of challenges facing private medical practitioners goes on and on.
And the medical field is just one of many fields that are more difficult to navigate with each passing year. Whether parents imagine their kids growing up to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, Olympic athletes, movie stars or world leaders, each generation faces more regulations, tougher marketplaces, rising costs and countless other barriers to success.
Needless to say, in the face of all the challenges, stress levels can only serve to make matters worse. No matter how much time a young person spends improving his or her list of personal developments and achievements, stress can easily erase that list in no time.
When stress levels rise, it’s also harder to keep on top of self-care issues, such as healthy diets, regular exercise regimes, positive attitudes and good lifestyle choices. In the face of stress, good decision making seems to fly out the window.
It seems the only answer is to try to outrun stress by adding as many significant personal developments and achievements as possible. Full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes, so to speak. To continue to stand out from the crowd or to get ahead of the crowd in the first place, individuals need to maintain a 4.0 or better G.P.A., attain perfect S.A.T. scores, speak several languages, play one or more instruments, be involved in the community through volunteer work, belong to service clubs, be philanthropists, have the best resumes, attend church, commit to life-long learning, have a fantastic social media Klout or Kred Score, be good at self-promotion and public speaking, dress well, be creative, have no bad habits and be a good listener.
As they grow older, they also have to be good spouses and parents, so they can ensure the next generation is also set for future success. It is hard to say if the list ever ends. And they have to do all of this while maintaining a positive attitude, keeping a smile on their face and being a strong global citizen.
What is a young person to do except self-destruct under this mountain of stress-inducing expectations and how can parents lighten the load while still getting fantastic results?
The answer is simple…
while you are busy helping your kids expand their list of personal developments and achievements and pushing them hard to be successful, don’t forget to give
them incredibly strong stress management skills and be extra careful to ensure
they have a rock solid internally-controlled sense of purpose. Without stress
management skills and their own sense of purpose on their list of personal developments, the most amazing achievements will
crash and burn by the time your child reaches the age of 25.
Just when they are supposed to be starting their life and making use of all the amazing personal developments and achievements they amassed while still young, they will be reaching the achievement plateau and starting to slide down the slippery slope of health challenges and destructive stress coping techniques. Just when your child is supposed to start climbing to the upper echelons of success, he or she will begin bashing into a wall of self-doubt and frustration.
As I said, you can stop all this from happening just by adding significant stress management skills to your child’s tool box beginning at a very young age, but I don't just mean yoga and deep breathing. While both of these are great starting points, achieving academic excellence and maintaining a lengthy list of personal developments will not be sustainable without effective stress management skills and abilities.
Personal developments and accomplishments should never be taken for granted in the face of serious stress. Just when young people should be focusing on the next achievement, instead they will be forced to combat colds and flues, depression and anxiety or disease. Instead of winning awards and becoming stellar examples within their chosen fields, they will be dealing with the side effects of divorce and trying to figure out how to manage their medications. It is not OK for parents to have such high expectations of their kids and then to tie their hands behind their backs before they even begin their adult lives.
Thankfully, parents can become experts at stress management and easily add these skills to their child's list of personal developments so their children can create healthy stress management habits for life.
Learning about the Endocrine system tops the list of important personal developments to add to your child's list. This means you must learn it yourself first. It is critically important to know about stress hormones.
There are good stress hormones and bad stress hormones, which can all be manipulated
by your lifestyle choices. For example, the simple act of hugging your child all the time produces
tons of Oxytocin, a good stress hormone that counters the negative effects of
Cortisol and Adrenaline. Being stand-offish and cold to your children does not help, it only hinders.
If you ensure your child has more of the good stress
hormones and far less of the bad ones, you can ensure they are not being internally-crippled
on a day-to-day basis. This may seem simple on the surface, but there are
dozens of stress hormones that can be leveraged for success in
life. If the bad ones are ignored and allowed to get out of control, on the other hand, they can also lead to extreme failure
Many people believe that stress is only an emotional issue and so they seek counselling and medication to control their emotions. However, emotions are only one piece of the puzzle. There are four main fields of stress – chemical, physical, electro-magnetic and emotional. When you look at the big picture of stress, you can see it is actually a medical concern, not just an emotional concern. To manage it effectively, you must know how to control your Endocrine system not just your emotions.
Next up is EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques, in terms of important skills on your child's list of personal developments. Previously, I said that emotions are not the only problem, but don’t be fooled; just because they are not the only problem, does not mean they are not a problem for your kids. Repressed emotion is the worst thing to allow your child to build up overtime. You may think that a child who does not express, is not allowed to express or at least, is not encouraged to express strong emotion is being polite and respectful, but this is not true.
All that is happening is that your child is learning to repress emotions, which then become stored in the central nervous system. This is a very unhelpful and even destructive skill to add to a child's list of personal developments. As life goes on, these repressed emotions cause the body to continually produce destructive free radicals and oxidative stress, eventually leading to serious chronic degenerative disease. To combat the problem, you must help your child learn to cope with these emotions and to release the emotions, not store them.
Just like you make
your child eat broccoli or make them practice piano or violin, you must also
make them learn EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques and then do it all the time.
Using EFT is a great way to release repressed emotions. My own children added EFT to their list of personal developments early on and they do EFT weekly at least and sometimes daily if there is a
particularly troublesome situation going on. In this way, children release
stress and are free to move forward in their lives without the burden of
By the way, pretending this is not a problem for your family is just keeping your head in the sand like an ostrich. If your child is a human being, then he or she is storing repressed emotions daily. So are you as the parents. Since learning about EFT back in 2009, I have come to believe that learning EFT should be a required course around the world when children are in Kindergarten and Grade 1. Children should be graded on their ability to attend to their emotions effectively, throughout elementary school. Releasing these destructive repressed emotions is more important than bathing, in my opinion, and the stack of repressed emotions can be very deep at very early ages, so get started right away.
Then we have the ability to make good lifestyle choices and the ability to choose success-supporting environments as the third item on your child's list of important personal developments and achievements.
Lifestyle choices are all about addictive substances and addictive behaviors. This starts from infancy with the soother and the baby blanket. It is important to give these comfort aids to your child in infancy mostly so you can teach your child how to give them up in a healthy way rather than becoming dependent on them. This translates to the future in obvious ways.
However lifestyle choices also means your environment. Where you live, how you live and the people, with whom you associate, are key ingredients to growing up to be healthy, happy, self-motivated and successful. Good choices means a good future and bad choices means free radicals, oxidative stress and disease. Success is not success without quality of life.
There is no way around this one. Exercise does more for stress management than any other activity known to man. If you leave this one off the list of personal developments for your children, they are dead in the water, before they even jump in the pool or lake. If you study the Endocrine system, you will learn about Nitric Oxide, Endorphins, Cortisol, Insulin, Glucagon and so many other hormones and brain chemicals that are produced as a result of regular, well-balanced exercise.
Your child must learn to love exercise and make it a life-long habit. If that means you have to learn to love exercise, then so be it. Find ways to make exercise part of your life even if you are already skinny. Getting enough exercise is not about appearance (although that certainly helps with entrance to Ivy League schools), rather, it’s about hormones and how they help with stress management. Exercise is key way to get many of the really helpful stress hormones.
Many people believe we should teach children to be comfortable with their appearance and weight, even if they are a little on the heavy side, but I don't agree with this. Extra weight is a strong sign that the Pancreas, a major endocrine and digestive organ, is not working properly. Once the Pancreas is damaged, which can happen very early in life, it can be almost impossible to repair the damage. The goal should always be health and wellness if you want success in life and that means keeping fit. When it comes to their list of personal developments, choosing a lifelong relationship with exercise has to be on it.
Next up on the list of needed personal developments is attitude. Every effort must be made to ensure your child has a positive attitude. In my own home, that meant no television commercials, no evening news or newspapers laying around, no horror shows and no mindless sitcoms and reality shows until they were teens.
Instead they were fed a media diet of biographies of amazing people, shows about happy, loving families and anything else that gave a positive message. Watching something scary or upsetting on TV produces the same stress response as if the child was attacked. The body is flooded with destructive Adrenaline and Cortisol. There is enough stress in the world without adding unnecessary stress to the list. For my children, I wanted to make sure the optimism, happiness, laughter and joy bank was overflowing from healthy media inputs before they started to receive the steady diet of negativity that is so prevalent in the world today.
Self-confidence is also critically-important. Your child has to be given many opportunities to build self-confidence. Ensuring the list of personal developments is within the control of the child instead of the parent is a great way to make this happen.
If parents psychologically abuse children in order to get them to practice or study, they are not leveraging the stress hormones to their advantage. It is far better to use positive reinforcement strategies as much as possible. A simple Google search on the subject of positive reinforcement will produce an amazing list of tools and techniques that parents can use to get excellent, top tier results at school and in extra-curricular activities.
As a parent, I required an extensive list of personal developments to be built up over time, but for the most part, I always allowed my kids to determine what would be on it. I used positive reinforcements and now both of my children excel in multiple fields of study.
Using positive reinforcement systems makes developing self-confidence in your children very easy because you will be regularly activating the Dopamine reward centres in the brain. Dopamine is an important brain chemical produced by the body and if you want to ensure your child’s success in life, then you must ensure this brain chemical is working for you, not against you. If it is working against you, it leads to substance abuse and other behavioral addictions, but if it is working for you, it leads to self-motivation and success. There is no point in going to all the trouble of making sure your kids have a 4.0 GPA and a perfect SAT score if they are addicted to antidepressants and anti-psychotic medications by the time they are 35, amongst other things.
The final item of the list of personal developments is nutrition and diet. At least 70% of all chronic degenerative diseases are caused by chemical stress from food, which means over a 140 different diseases are directly caused by dangerous processed foods laden with salt, sugar, fat and excitotoxins (additives and other chemicals). Did you know that excitotoxins literally excite your brain cells to death?
It seems counter-intuitive
to make a child pull all-nighters studying only to spend the days killing all
the new brain cells and synaptic connections with bad food. Kids must be fed a
diet free of processed salt and sugar, bad fats and excitotoxins. They must get
healthy fats, healthy proteins and healthy carbohydrates. They must get fiber
and nutrient-dense foods as often as is humanly possible. Their colons (intestines) must be clean at all times and efficiently working so the body can absorb the nutrients it needs to keep the child healthy.
If that means so you have to teach yourself how to cook all over again, then so be it. That is what I had to do. If that means dad has to take a back seat to the needs of the kids, then so be it. If you want your children to grow up to be healthy, happy, self-motivated and successful so they can bring honor to your family, then you must ensure they are fed correctly.
They must be allowed to enter the adult world with properly functioning internal organs, like the Pancreas, or they will be down for the count by the time they reach age 30. Again, no quality of life equals no real success.
So, now that you know all about how effective stress management makes it easier to achieve success in life, will you take the time help your children develop and much more complete list of personal developments?