We all have an inner guidance system. Some call it a gut reaction. Some refer to it as intuition.

In The Gift of Fear, Gavin De Becker wrote, “You have the gift of a brilliant internal guardian that stands ready to warn you of hazards and guide you through risky situations.” Whatever term you choose, it is incredibly valuable.

Our internal guidance not only keeps us safe, but it can also guide us in making decisions from a place that unites our head and our heart. Trusting your inner guidance and teaching your children to trust theirs is vitally important.

A friend of mine did not listen to her inner guidance. When she was around 14 and was walking to school, a man in a car asked her a question. She could not hear him, so she moved closer, asking him to please repeat himself. The entire time, her inner guidance was telling her to stay away and continue walking. She ignored it. As she approached the car, he grabbed her and tried to pull her in. Fortunately, she was able to get away. From that day forward, she vowed to always listen to her inner guidance.

What clues us in to that guidance? Our thoughts and feelings — those little nudges that tug at the corners of our awareness, apprehension, hesitation, fear, anxiety, a thought that persists, doubt or a knowing that something is somehow “off” even when you can’t explain why. It was the request that my friend heard but ignored: “Keep walking. Stay away.”

We so often talk ourselves out of our intuitive guidance. We rationalize someone else’s behavior, such as, “He is only asking for directions.” We downplay what we feel or discount what we think. We make someone else’s request or desire more important than the guidance we are receiving.

How do we teach children to be aware of and to listen to their inner guidance?

We show them through our own behavior. We take the time to get quiet and check in with ourselves. We request that they do the same. We allow them a full awareness of all feelings — mad, sad, afraid, hurt and happy. We teach them to feel and listen to their feelings from an early age by talking about how we feel and asking them to talk about how they feel. We frame feelings as guides. We help them identify in their body where they feel that guidance.

We don’t say, “There is nothing to be afraid of” when they feel afraid. We talk about events where they may have ignored their intuition and let them know how important it is to listen.

We value our own inner guidance so that our child will value theirs.

Maggie Macaulay is the owner of Whole Hearted Parenting, offering coaching, courses and workshops. Contact her at 954-483-8021 or Maggie@WholeHeartedParenting.com. Visit her website at WholeHeartedParenting.com.

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