Here's your parental homework to help your kids succeed.
Do you want your child to be a success? Of course you do. But how can you make that possible?
Here are some examples of parenting that I'm sure you don't want to emulate:
Tony, 8, was already feeling bad about himself. He was trying to hide a spelling paper in his back pack, but mom was too quick for him. "I see you got 4 wrong on your spelling test! How many times have I told you to study the night before? What's wrong with you? School is your job!"
Samantha, 10, came in crying. "The kids teased me again for being fat. I hate it and I hate them!" Mom retorted, "Well make sure you don't run into the kitchen like you usually do and grab some food that you don't need!"
Yes, these sorts of scenes happen. But I want to make sure that your children are all success stories. And I believe you want that too. So what does it take to help your kids succeed?
The essence is helping kids recognize their talents, strengths, and potential. They need to recognize their positive capacities and be able to tap into them. Otherwise, the pitfalls and disappointments of life are enough to usually make a child feel very bad about him or herself. Tony and Samantha both felt bad about disappointments, but both were exaggerated and made to feel worse by parents who didn't pick up on how much these children needed to recognize and utilize what was positive about themselves.
So what does it take on your part? First you must recognize and encourage your child's talents, strengths and potential. Tony may have trouble spelling, but he might be a great older brother to his 3 year old sister, teaching her how to make puzzles and playing with her. Samantha may eat too much, but she may already show capacities to be a great cook someday. Maybe a nutritious cooking course for kids is just what she needs, not criticism from her mom when she's teased.
Bottom line is in the case of children, two things need to happen — they need to feel that they're special, and you need to learn how to give them that feeling. It's not just pointing out talents or working on a list of potential abilities as we might do with adults. It's at a more organic level. They need to know at the deepest cellular level that we think they are great. Not just that we love them, but that they are the sun and the moon in our eyes.
Did you ever have someone give you their complete attention? Think about how good you felt. That's what kids need, again and again and again. So here is a simple, but profound homework assignment for you:
Give your child seven minutes a day of undivided attention. It can be help with homework, a chat in the car or as you make dinner, talking at the foot of their bed, eating breakfast together. Just remember — it's a magical time between you and the child that will help them feel good about themselves for the rest of their life! If you have to give criticism during this time, make sure you sandwich it between some positive, loving, truthful remarks. Put away any distractions like your cell phone. Do this homework as often as possible, and your child will give you an A plus! I promise.
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist and Happiness Coach
Websites: Enchanted Self, TheTruthforgirls, Next Year in Jerusalem, Authors Speaking, Positive Psychology for Women
Latest Books: The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything), Next Year in Jerusalem: Romance, Mystery & Spiritual Awakening
Youtube: Enchanted Self, The Truth for Girls, Next Year in Jerusalem
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