I wrote my 8 Tips for Parents piece a while ago, and I just wanted to share one of those tips today called, “Foreshadowing”. I borrowed this literary term to describe the exercise of narrating the future for your child. This is basically a technique that gives your child something to shoot for. In other words, it gives them a direction or a pathway to follow, and the advantageous part of this is that you are the one leading the way.
There is no doubt that parental expectations can be a powerful motivator especially in the early years. In the energy medicine system, this foreshadowing is happening all the time, and can be very useful if it is harnessed and used correctly.
Let’s take an example of preparing for school. This is a significant milestone around age 5. It includes the novelty of school with its rules, order, and social scene. At the same time it involves the necessary absence of you as the parent, as your child enters the long process of becoming educated through the school system. By foreshadowing what will happen when your child enters school for the first time, you can essentially prepare them in advance. This can take the form of statements directly to your child or to others. It can take the form of actions, like visiting the school itself, going to the playground, or maybe meeting teachers or the principal. These preparatory steps are basically foreshadowing for your child what school will be like.
I often recommend that parents make statements like, “I wonder what you’re going to learn in kindergarten?” or “How many friends do you think you’ll make in your first month of school?” These types of statements foreshadow the positive aspects of the upcoming scenario and they can make it much easier for your child to make this important adjustment.
Here are three things I want you to remember about this topic called foreshadowing:
1. Foreshadowing allows your child to get in sync with your expectations of the future.
2. This means they have something to shoot for, or a pathway to follow.
3. Foreshadowing is best used with open ended, nonchalant, “I wonder” type of statements and questions.
Another very important tip is to use what I call “gossiping”. If your child hears you talking to someone else about them, their ears are sure to perk up. In the energy medicine way of looking at your child, this can happen even if your child is too young to understand what you’re saying. The typical scenario would be if you are talking on the phone to grandma, and you mention something about your child by name. Something like “Guess how well Bobby is doing in school?”, or “You should see how fast Bobby is learning to read!”. These statements directed at other people but particularly extended family members can be like gold.
If you make use of this technique, I am optimistic that you will see your child responding to new situations or previously stress provoking ones in a more calm and confident manner. So keep foreshadowing in mind as a technique you can use whenever you see an opportunity to prepare your child for the near or the distant future. Give it a try, and let me know what kind of results you get.