Your child’s intuition is her first line of defense against danger and predatory people. And more than that, listening to her intuition will help her be more confident and increase her self-esteem, giving her a strong internal sense of self that will guide her and help her better resist pressure from others to be and behave in ways that aren’t authentic to her.
You want to foster your daughter’s nascent intuitive sense and help her learn to recognize it and act on it. Understanding the concept of “intuition” is likely too advanced for your child, so you can explain it to her like this:
“Deep inside your body you have a special sense called ‘intuition.’ It’s your very best friend that will help you your whole life if you listen to it. Mommy and Daddy have it too; everyone does. Your intuition pays attention to everything and everyone around you, and it tells you when something doesn’t feel good.
“It doesn’t talk with a voice like you and I do. It tells you things by giving you good or bad feelings that you might feel in your tummy or your chest. Like when you feel happy, you might feel like your heart is singing. Or when you feel scared or nervous, it might make your stomach hurt or feel like it has butterflies in it. You might notice your intuition does this when you meet a new person, or when someone does something they shouldn’t.
“Your intuition is veeery quiet, so when you notice it talking, you need to pay really close attention to see what it’s saying. Sometimes your mind will try to talk louder than your intuition, but you must always listen to your intuition first.”
Your child will likely have lots of questions for you about this. Take the time to answer them all until you feel like she understands as much as her age and maturity level allow. This is a conversation that will continue and shift over time.
5 Ways to Foster Your Child’s Intuition
Here are five things you can do to help your child develop and learn to trust her intuition:
- Don’t force her to hug or kiss anyone if she doesn’t want to.
- Take her fears and discomfort around others seriously. The physical and emotional feeling of fear is designed to protect us from danger. When you minimize your child’s fears by telling her there’s nothing to be afraid of, it neither removes the fear nor calms her down. She just feels ashamed and learns to keep her fears to herself, and that runs counter to your desire to encourage her to come to you if she’s in real danger. Validate and acknowledge her fears and ask questions about them to see what’s beneath the surface. Her fears may in fact be irrational (you don’t want to say that, of course; that would come across as ridicule), or they may point to something you need to be concerned about and investigate.
- Tell your child that if a particular person made her intuition go off, to get away from that person immediately and come tell you right away.
- Teach her to protect herself. Rather than promising you’ll protect her from all harm for all time—a promise you can’t keep—promise her you’ll teach her what she needs to know to take care herself… and then do so. By reading and applying what you’re learning in this blog, you’re helping keep that promise.
- Teach her that adults make mistakes too and that they’re not always right. This takes the pressure off her to automatically obey any adults’ commands that might not be in her best interest. Teach your daughter that she’s not obligated to obey any adult (or older child) who makes her tummy feel icky.
Be the parent your child deserves!
the Badass Grandma
About CJ Scarlet
CJ Scarlet, aka the “Badass Grandma,” is a danger expert, victim advocate, and crime survivor herself. Most importantly, Scarlet is the doting grandma of three precocious toddlers. CJ has given speeches and workshops at national and international events; and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including MSNBC and NPR.
The former U.S. Marine photojournalist and forest firefighter holds an interdisciplinary master’s degree in Humanities with an emphasis on human violence from Old Dominion University. Named one of the “Happy 100” people on the planet, CJ’s story of triumph over adversity is featured in two bestselling books, including Happy for No Reason and Be Invincible.