Do you embrace your children’s accomplishments, achievements, and successes? When was the last time you spoke words of praise unto your children? Have you taken time out to encourage your children? Do you encourage only the “big” successes, or are you offering praise for the little ones as well? Do you respond to failure as a bad thing? Are you offering encouragement when your children fail to succeed?
Children thrive on positive affirmations, strokes, and encouragement. Children who live in environments where they are belittled or berated; have a higher likelihood of giving up on their dreams and life ambitions. Likewise, a child who is belittled or berated is more likely to have a lowered self-esteem and self-awareness.
BE ATTENTIVE AND ACTIVELY LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN
Parents should strive to daily interact and communicate with their children. Interacting with your children on a daily basis will foster good communications between you and your children. Active listening facilitates effective discussions.
Be aware of your verbal and nonverbal communication. What we communicate can have a profound effect upon the life of our children. “It’s important to understand that nonverbal communication is the language of relationships.” (Torppa, 2009, p.1) As parents, if we communicate negativity through our nonverbal expressions; our children’s unconscious mind may improperly interpret the message as being a direct reflection of their personal worth.
IMPROVE YOUR OWN SELF-CONFIDENCE
Be certain that your own mental health is in order. As parents, we need to set a positive example by seeking out care, when care is needed. Importantly, we do not have to verbally communicate that we are having struggle with a particular issue for our children to subconsciously be aware of our lives challenges. If you want your children to be honest with you, you must be willing to be honest with yourself. Do not allow the stigmatization of counseling to be a barrier unto your health and wellbeing.
REINFORCING THE SELF
A healthy self-worth is not comprised of narcissism, haughtiness, or arrogance. Individuals with a healthy sense of self; should have an unconditional acceptance, love, and approval of themselves. This unconditional state-of-being should not only engulf their life, but should be transferred onto every life they encounter. For children, parents are the primary instructor of self-esteem.
First-and-foremost, children should be raised in environments that are nurturing, supportive, equipped with healthy affection, and attention. Children should receive positive affirmations, strokes, and encouragement in the home and in the classroom “Educators and parents (should) share a common goal: helping children and youth become successful in school and life.” (White-McNulty, Patrikakou, & Weissberg, 2005, Online)
Parents should strive to engage their children on a regular basis. Encouraging your children to actively engage will foster good communication skills. Children should be encouraged to actively interact in their homes and schools. Engaging a child does not mean that we are to belittle, berate, or selectively make a negative example of a child. In other words, do not put a child down.
Establish positive expectations in your home and school environment. “(Positive)… expectations carry with them the responsibility for making sure that students have the supports they need to be successful…” (White-McNulty, Patrikakou, & Weissberg, 2005, Online) Furthermore, having positive expectations ensures that your children are made aware of their responsibilities, capabilities, and life pursuits.
Parents should have high expectations of their children’s teachers. “The role of teachers is to be… responsible for implementing a program that is thoughtfully planned, challenging, engaging, integrated, developmentally appropriate, and culturally and linguistically responsive, and that promotes positive outcomes for all children.” (Ministry of Education, 2006, Online)
POSITIVELY ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN’S DREAMS, GOALS, AND AMBITIONS
Children are sieves, filtering the good and the bad that we communicate. If we foster an achievement attitude, then we need to be mindful of what and how we communicate unto our children. Developing a win-win attitude starts in the home. We should not only strive to set personal goals, but should be certain to communicate our goals with our children. Motivating our children starts with our own motivations. Each time we set aside our goals for the perfect day or time or moment, we communicate unto our children that it is acceptable to aside their own goals. If you desire for your children to live a positively inspired life, then set an example of how to live such a life. Do not wait until tomorrow to live your life.
Successfully minded individuals seek to live life on a daily basis. Children naturally yearn for knowledge. You should foster this desire teaching them to become lifelong learners. Encourage your children to set goals and to aim high. Be a model of positivity. Continuously seek to offer your children positive praise and affection. If your children fail, help them to learn from the failure seeing it as a mere challenge rather than an obstacle. Honor your children by being a beacon of unconditional love, hope, and encouragement.
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Kohn, A. (2006) Beyond discipline: From compliance to community. New York: Atria Books.
Lavoie, R. (2007) The motivation breakthrough: Six secrets to turning on the turned-out child. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Locke, E.A. and Latham, G. P. (2002) Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation. American Psychologist. 57(9): 705-717.
Pintrich, P., & Schunk, D. (2001). Motivation in education: Theory, research and applications. Second Edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill.
Spitzer, D. (1995) SuperMotivation. New York, NY: AMACOM Books.
Torppa, C. B. (2009) Nonverbal communication: Teaching your child the skills of social success. The Ohio State University. 1-3 Retrieved January 18, 2012, from http://ohioline.osu.edu/flm03/FS10.pdf
Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Wang, M.C. & Walberg, H. J. (Eds.) (2004) Building academic success on social and emotional learning: What does the research say? New York: Teachers College Press.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA