There's one very specific thing you need to keep in mind when parenting kids with any big obsession.
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Do your kids obsess over the latest craze?
In my 10 years of being a parent, I've lived through an obsession with trains, following by a Pokemon card craze. Then came the little mini fads along the way, where they collected things from the local supermarket and traded them at school, or made and sold homemade slime in the school playground.
Leading human behaviour expert and author Dr John Demartini , explains to us what the key is to finding your child's inner genius (and then what to do with it).
Every child has an inner genius
Dr Demartini says every child has a genius inside them, but it is "activated by pursuing challenges that inspire them."
And how can we learn to bring out the genius inside our children? It's about recognising their values and priorities and using those to help guide and inspire them.
"Every individual regardless of age live by a set of priorities, a set of values, that are most and least important to their life at each stage," Dr Demartini said.
Be vigilant about safety. Babyproof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding his bike or scooter.
He explained that set of values differs from the values of their parents, and while it may seem important to guide them and change their values to something we may deem more suitable, we should simply encourage them.
Your child's values could be similar to yours... Image: iStock.
8 steps to finding their values
Learning how to identify our children's values can help us to foster the genius inside them. Here are some simple steps, and a few questions to consider, which will help you figure it all out.
1. Look at what they fill their space with: Dr Demartini says children will keep the things that are very important to them, as close as possible. So scout around in their room and take note of the things they keep by their bed or next to where they spend a lot of time.
2. Look at how they spend their time spontaneously: Children will find the time for the things they really enjoy, and when it comes to thinks like homework or tidying up, they generally run out of time. Dr Demartini says they're also "more energised, alive, engaged and enthused when they do something they value," but most children will become lethargic and even sleep when they don't enjoy something as much.
3. Have a look at what they spend money on: I remember when we would give our boys $1 each and they would spend up to an hour in the games shop digging through old Pokemon cards behind the counter for their favourite 10 each. These days when given money, they want to instantly turn it into iTunes dollars.
Seeing what your child spends their birthday money on, or what they're saving up for is always a great indicator for what they really hold dear in life.
Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.
What does your child spend their savings on? Image: iStock.
4. See where they're most organised: Children will tend to be most organised with things they hold as a high value. Whether that's lining up their favourite My Little Ponies, or organising their book in alphabetical order, looking at where they are well organised is a good indicator of where their values lie.
5. Where are they more disciplined? Dr Demartini says kids often need to be reminded to do the things they don't enjoy.
I have to tell my boys to brush their teeth several times each night, which is a pretty good indicator that's not something they value. Also, neither is going to bed, but ask yourself what your kids will happily do spontaneously. One of my kids is an amazing artist, and I've never once had to tell him to sit down and draw. Perhaps with the right guidance, he could be the next Maurice Sendak!
6. Evidence of working towards something: This is a pretty big one, and it may not come to you straight away, but this one surprised me and I instantly thought about my eight-year-old son's aspirations.
"I want to be a YouTuber!" he said to me a few weeks ago, and I admit I laughed. I may have even pointed out something similar to what my own mum told me when I decided I wanted to be an actor around the same age: The sheer number of people versus the amount of people who are actually successful makes it an unrealistic dream.
But Dr Demartini said such a response is actually stifling their dreams. And who are we to tell them their dreams are unattainable?
Turn taking. Help all members of the family take turns talking and listening. Children find it much easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions.
Finding evidence of them working towards things may reveal where your child's values lie.
My son is always researching and planning out what he will do when he's old enough to stream things on YouTube. I'm not saying that will be any time soon, but if it's his dream and he's willing to put in the work to make it a commercial enterprise one day, then why not?
Do you have a little YouTuber on your hands too? Image: iStock.
7. Recognise their inner dialogue: Your inner dialogue is another good indicator of finding your child's priorities.
"What do you visualise about how you want your life? What are you thinking about and what are you talking to yourself about how you want your life that shows evidence of coming true?" asked Dr Demartini.
8. Conversations with others: There was once a time when almost every conversation in our house turned to Fortnite. It's all my eldest wanted to talk about. And you could be on the topic of fruit, and your kid pipes up with "There's a new banana skin that I want in Fortnite!"
Actually, that happened only a few days ago ...
Dr Demartini says kids will always try to bring the conversation back to what interests them the most. So chat to them and see where they take you.
Once you've discovered what makes your kids tick, encourage them. Encourage the kid who wants to be a YouTuber to research how others make money from it. Teach them how to use video equipment and let them experiment. They don't need to stream their lives on the internet, but harvesting a focus which allows them to imagine a future earning a living doing exactly what they love can go a long way in helping your child harvest their inner genius.
Keep in mind what grandmoms always say. Children are not yours, they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people.
Dr Demartini says, "Every child wants to learn, they just want to learn what's important to them."
What's important to your child?