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Is Pursuing External Achievement Bad for our Kids?

I want to admit a flaw in the way I used to think about External Achievement. I used to believe that if you valued and chased external achievement then you didn't value internal strength or achievement - how you feel about yourself, the thoughts in your mind, your ability to manage your emotions, how authentic you are. I used to believe you had to rebel against external achievement in order to value and pursue internal achievement. Wouldn't be the first time I was reminded that not everything in life is so black and white 😜 But I love realizing errors in my thought process because that means growth and deepening my understanding of something. External achievement - grades, trophies, big titles & salaries isn't bad. It's okay that a part of us wants this for ourselves and our kids. The problem is that external achievement ALONE is no longer enough in the world we live in today. Every single child psychologist I talk to says more and more kids are dealing with anxiety. This means that something is amiss. External achievement has been prioritized and chased for years and somehow it was okay and we got by BUT it is no longer enough. It is incomplete. It is only a small part of the equation. The external achievement becomes irrelevant if our kids inner world is in chaos. Inner Strength (Achievement) can exist without External Achievement but External Achievement falls apart without the Inner Strength. Inner strength is what gives us the ability to be true to who we are, pick ourselves up during hard moments and helps us make good choices as we navigate life. Ways to help create Inner Strength for your kids:

  • Journalling

  • Helping them reflect on life experiences through questions & conversation

  • Noticing and celebrating Inner Achievement just as much as the external

  • Giving them time to be with themselves without distractions

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