Being a hero to your child means honoring the commitment to watch over and protect them. This commitment requires that you cultivate the ninja-like ability of balancing the razor-edged sword of self-care and self-sacrifice.

Below are some ways you can nurture your superhero status in the eyes of your child:

Take care of yourself

  • Even superheroes need to recharge. What if the superhero abilities you wish to develop are longevity and optimal health? Certainly, you would want to look at the health factors and risks in your life, explore your biological age and make investments towards cultivating practices that nurture cellular health. Some of these include:

  • Good sleep hygiene – A chronic lack of sleep can negatively affect your cardiovascular and immune systems making you more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes and infections. According to data compiled by the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Study, longevity is positively impacted with an average of seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

  • Mitigating the stressors in your life – Stress can cause irritability and irritability can make you less patient, and if there is any skill required for raising a child, it is patience. Take stock of your life, visit with your GP and work with health advocates to support you in making the necessary behavioral changes that help you become less reactive and more present to your children, family and life. Bonus: stress management also contributes to your longevity and makes you more pleasant to be around!

  • Eating well – The benefits of eating well are boundless and include supporting your immunity, reducing inflammation and helping you find your optimal weight. Eating well and demonstrating the tenets of a balanced diet, also provides your child with nutritional guidance to last a lifetime. Be the example.

  • Exercising regularly – In addition to feeling more comfortable in your body and clothes, regular exercise helps to balance your hormones, boost your energy and release feel-good chemicals that reduce pain whilst elevating your mood. Plus, you’ll be more agile, flexible and strong, making you the fun parent who can play, clown around and endure the physical rigors of raising a child.

Explore your Origin Story

Every superhero has an origin story and most of them include loss, betrayal, neglect or abuse. Your origin story and your relationship to it affect how you relate to yourself and your child (and to all aspects of your life).

A way to start or revisit your personal healing and origin story is to take the ACE assessment. ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and the assessment measures the amount of trauma an adult has experienced before the age of 18. Divorce, addiction, mental health challenges, physical abuse and more are considered. A study done in collaboration with the CDC and Kaiser Permanente reveals that high ACE scores are the main culprit of employee absenteeism, the rising costs of medical care, multiple marriages, risky behaviors and early mortality.

Although the pain and trauma of your past are not your fault, it is your responsibility to heal. Be honest with yourself and know that no one endures life without struggle and discomfort. Be sure to rally a team of supporters and therapists who can help you with the inner work of walking victoriously along your own hero’s journey.

Practice active listening

When was the last time you felt really seen, heard and understood by someone? What was their body language? How did they talk? How did they listen? I am sure the moment made a positive impression – the type of impression you want to make in your children’s lives.

Children want and have the innate survival need to be seen, loved and safe. Studies show that active listening – hearing what the other person is saying and making sure that you understand the complete communication – helps to create positive neural pathways that nurture feelings of safety, trust and connection. In the leadership world, it is documented that consistently nurturing these pathways makes you someone that others want to follow. Active listening makes you a leader and to your child, that makes you a hero.

So before you cut off your child in mid-sentence or assume you know what they mean, take a deep breath, make sure you’re not doing anything else such as texting or watching a show, then get on your child’s level and be sure to look them in the eye. Allow them to complete their thought as you observe their body language and pay attention to their emotional tone as well as their words. Again, before you respond, breathe, consider any qualifying questions that will help you understand, then speak. Start with reflecting back on what you heard. Repeat … often.

Honor and live from your core values

As mentioned earlier, superheroes demonstrate specific core values. Some of these include loyalty, courage, kindness, harmony, creativity and selflessness. What are your core values and what does your family “stand for”?

A fun exercise I suggest to my coaching clients is to enroll the family in identifying collective core values, finding or making images that represent them, coming up with a fun family superhero name (a la “The Incredibles”) and then making a visual family emblem that can be displayed in the house. You can even get them printed on t-shirts. Allow your children to hold you accountable to those values just as much as you hold them accountable through your heroic leadership.

Be Human and Be Kind

Life is full of peaks and valleys, gains and loss, love and heartbreak. Normalize and demonstrate the healthy expression of emotion, conscious communication, forgiveness, repair and expansive self-care. Apologize when you make mistakes and do your best to keep your word. Overall, practice kindness – towards yourself and your child. This will surely elevate you to hero status in the hearts and eyes of your child.

Resources & References:

ACE Score Assessment –

CDC & Kaiser ACE Study –

The Chemical Consequences of Active Listening – or Not