Poppy Mae was only 6 when I first met her. School life was particularly difficult at the time, academically as well as socially.
In spite of her trouble, Poppy Mae had remained strongly connected to a deeper knowing which fed a quiet sense of self-esteem and dignity.
She produced a constant stream of powerful paintings, made crystal clear observations about the world around her and was visibly connected to her internal landscape as well as that of the natural world around her. She is one of the most intuitive children I know.
Another little boy always seemed lucky when he went fishing. His friends called it ‘unfair’.
Intuition is like radar that picks up signals and leads you to the right place at the right time. Children come into the world naturally connected to that inner voice which speaks to us without words. It is a sense.
Children experience and filter the world through their feelings.
And it is not until they are about 10 or older that they start having more access to their rational (and linguistic) brain in their assessment of the things around them.
Bear this in mind - particularly if your child rattles and prattles with what seem like lots of clever things to say. Children live through the vastness of their hearts and what they say can never fully or even accurately convey what they sense. Words can even distract them from what they are feeling and in the worst case, this disconnection can become a lifelong habit of alienation from oneself.
An important sense
When intuition is developed and respected alongside the other forms of perception such as hearing, smelling, feeling and thinking, parenting children becomes a richer experience all round.
That inner guide will hold your child by the hand and give her the biggest chance of a life that does her justice, allowing her to express her potential to the full. (Beware not to equate this with an easy or self-centred life; a meaningful or interesting life on the other hand? Yes, definitely that!)
Parenting can be a confronting process. We cannot persuade our children of very much if we do not practice what we preach.
In fact children are hyper sensitive to any mismatch - when people say one thing and another thing is felt. If this happens at home it makes children very insecure and stops them being able to trust what they are picking up.
Simple ways to nurture your child’s natural inner wisdom
1. Begin with honesty
Examine your own communication with your inner voice. How carefully do you listen to your gut instincts yourself?
Avoid fobbing your children off with explanations or stories that don’t fit their sense of what is going on.
2. Insist on daily – digital screen free – quiet time
Even if this can only be for 15 minutes – just sitting quietly or gazing into the garden or having a quiet play connects a child with their internal world in a way that technology cannot do.
3. Imaginary play
Imaginary play comes easily to many children and is a natural way to be connected with an inner steering, as it isn’t solution focussed or competitive. It cultivates associative thinking and creativity, which are very interwoven with the inner voice. It is also a natural way for children to integrate and come to terms with what life throws at them.
4. Show children how to connect with nature and animals
And learn to be quiet – to observe and listen as well as notice how life develops and unfolds over time. Little moments of such focussed attention are vital to a successful as well as a satisfying life.
5. Encourage children to experience and name...
...where and how their physical sensations correspond to the gamut of emotions that pass through them on a day - such as joy, fear, anger, (un)certainty and so on.
Giving your child age appropriate responsibility will both add to his sense of significance as well as giving him a sense of owning his own life.
By receiving such respect from early on, he will learn to follow his own guide, once having been shown the general way by you first.
7. Trust your child to come up with her own solutions as often as life allows
Nothing can be more empowering and yet increasingly parents decide for their children.
Sometimes, if children are really stuck - particularly if it concerns an emotional matter - they might like to try the following:
Get them to imagine (or draw) a safe and special place. It can be a landscape, real or imagined, and there they'll find their special friend or helper. I never cease to be amazed what children come up with when they consult this character. Helpers always come up with suburb insights and suggestions!
8. Finally, explore too, if you have the courage to wait for solutions to present themselves to you ‘when the time is right’?
Learning to live with some level of uncertainty is a major skill in a transient world. It requires trust in yourself - your skills, experience, adaptability and ultimately your deepest wisdom, which speaks directly through your intuition.
Only then can you trust your children to follow suit.
Does your child or children use their sense of intuition? Share your examples and stories in the comments below. I'm sure other parents would love to read them too...