How to Educate Your Children to Be Authentic?

If you want to educate your children to be authentic, you must allow them to think for themselves. Find out how to promote this quality.
How to Educate Your Children to Be Authentic?
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 29 May, 2023

Authenticity is one of the most valuable qualities we human beings can count on. It’s what allows us to stay true to ourselves instead of going with the flow. It’s also what helps us stay connected to our essence. For the same reason, educating your children to be authentic is fundamental if you want to provide them with a well-rounded emotional education.

You may, on an abstract level, be totally fine with instilling this value in your children. However, you need to be able to back up these intentions with action. And this means accepting that they may choose to dress up as a dinosaur instead of a princess, that they may question the orders you give them, or that they may choose to study art instead of medicine. In short, it means allowing them to choose their own thoughts and their own path.

If you have any doubts about this at this point, we’ll show you why it’s so important to make authenticity part of your children’s personal development.

The importance of raising your children to be authentic

A child who has learned to believe in themselves and remain authentic has great advantages in their day-to-day lives. And this isn’t only true during childhood, but also in adolescence and even adulthood. Some of the most notable are the following:

  • They’re less likely to become involved in bullying situations as an aggressor or bystander. Many children are silent accomplices to bullying because of the need to fit in or out of fear of opposing the child who apparently has more power. However, an authentic youngster won’t hesitate to stand up for their ideals and act on behalf of the victim.
  • They’re better able to explore and develop their own personality without being influenced by their environment. Your child will feel free to have their own tastes, choose their image, and participate in the games they like the most without depending on what their peers think.
  • During adolescence, they’re more easily able to cope with peer pressure. For the same reason, they’re able to refuse to get involved in certain activities or risky behaviors, such as the consumption of alcohol and other substances or premature sexual relations. Authenticity protects them, to a large extent, from fear of rejection.
  • They lead happier and more successful lives. Firstly, because they’ll know how to align themselves with their vocation or purpose and fulfill it. And, secondly, because they’ll avoid the cognitive dissonance that arises when what they think, what they feel, and what they say aren’t in agreement. This reduces the risk of disorders such as anxiety or depression.
A mother and her young daughter playing toy instruments with their faces painted with marker.
During your children’s childhood, be sure to offer them ample and varied stimulation. Expose them to different environments and allow them to discover where they feel most comfortable.

Find out how to raise your children to be authentic

Here are some guidelines or tips to encourage authenticity in your little ones.

Help them to know themselves

In order to stay true to their essence, they need to know themselves. To do this, they must first have the possibility to develop freely. In this regard, there’s nothing better than offering them multiple and diverse opportunities so that they can discover their tastes and preferences, their virtues and weaknesses, and their values and principles. For example, teach them about music, art, and nature, but also about science, culture, or languages.

Let them make decisions

Choosing the clothes they want to wear, the hairstyle they want to wear every day, or the movie the family’s going to see at the cinema is important. All of these small decisions teach children to be more self-confident, purposeful, and independent. If they grow up and know that they have the right and the ability to decide, it’ll be easier for them to do so from then on.

Strengthens their critical thinking

Authentic people have highly developed critical thinking. They tend to analyze, question, and reason every situation that comes their way instead of acting out of inertia or accommodating to the masses. You can achieve this by having deep and interesting talks with them. You can cover topics from stories or movies during their childhood or talk about current events when they’re older. Everyday situations that occur at home or at school can also be a good starting point to ask them what they think about it and what they think should be done. Above all, allow them to speak and listen to them before giving your point of view.

A mother kneeling down to talk with her son.
To encourage critical thinking in your children, it’s important that they learn to form their own opinions and express them assertively from their earliest years.

Reinforce their authenticity

Teaching your children to be authentic implies renouncing blind obedience. You’ll have to allow and encourage them to think for themselves, even when this means questioning your rules. Don’t hesitate to give them a reasoned explanation of the limits you impose and be open to listening to their points of view and negotiating. After all, parenting isn’t a power struggle. Giving your child a voice doesn’t detract from your authority, but helps to build it out of respect.

Educating your children to be authentic is strengthening them for life

Sooner or later, your children will no longer be under your care and will have to face the world on their own. At this time, being able to rely on themselves is a real gift.

An authentic child will know that they can trust their own judgment, that it’s okay to stick to their beliefs and ideals and forge their own path. They’ll also be much more prepared to deal with pressures, and it’s precisely that confidence that will take them far in life. So don’t hesitate to start building on this quality.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cuevas, M. C., & Marmolejo Medina, M. A. (2016). Observadores: un rol determinante en el acoso escolar. Pensamiento psicológico14(1), 89-102.
  • Yepes, R. (1997). Persona como fuente de autenticidad. Acta Philosophica: rivista internazionale di filosofia6(1), 83-100.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.