Fostering Achievement

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on January 19, 2012 3:32 pm

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. 


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. 


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. 


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)


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. 


Burleson, B. R., & Kunkel, A. (2002). Parental and peer contributions to the emotional support skills of the child: From whom do children learn to express support? Journal of Family Communication, 2, 79–97.

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

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

0 comments on “Fostering Achievement”

  1. Helen Green says:

    Asa, your children must be very blessed to have you for a father.
    As ever, your words are full of wisdom, compassion, love and care.
    Your article is an inspiration to both parents and childcare workers.
    Following your advice will hopefully bring a happy and fulfilling life
    to both children and parents.

    1. Dear Helen Green,

      First of all, thank you for your very kind words. Your words inspire me and reassure me that I am offering a positive message. As a parent, I can tell you that l too appreciate the feedback received both from fellow practitioners, as well as, parents themselves.

      Again, thank you for your time and feedback.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  2. Joan Bourke says:

    I really enjoyed this article. From being an Emergency Nurse we were dealing with children frequently and it was not hard to pick out the kids that came from homes where negative verbalization and attitudes was the usual tone in that household. Such a difference from the kids that came from a home where there were boundries, expectations, the parents were in control and the kids lived in a positive environment with lots of encouragement and positive feedback. We could spot which category our pediatric patients belonged to almost as soon as they walked in the door. The first group had no trust and they acted out and misbehaved, and we often had to remove the parents so that we could care for the child. But the second group, even though they were scared or apprehensive and sometimes cried, they had trust in their parents that they would keep them safe and therefore were usually co-operative and brave even tho they were scared. Great article Dr. Brown. Joan

    1. Dear Joan

      Thank you for taking the time to reply to my latest article. I am sincerely appreciative of your kind remarks and feedback.

      It is intriguing how we can often place a child with his or her parent simply by nonverbal communications.

      Please do accept my delayed response, I had been away for a surgical procedure when you had posted your reply. Again, thank you for taking the time to read and reply to my latest article.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  3. Dear Dr. Eunice Johannson,

    First of all, thank you for taking the time to reply and offer your critique of my latest article. Dr. Johannson, I agree that there is a hint of Cognitive Behavioral strategies in my latest article, as well as, a bit of Person Centered and my own brand of therapy. As a therapist, it is encouraging to receive your reply. As an author, it blesses my heart that I am reaching all sorts of folks; who are not only reading my articles, but are being inspired to reply. Finally, you are more than welcomed to use my articles in therapy and educational environments.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to review and reply to my latest article.

    Warm Regards,

    Dr. Asa Don Brown

  4. Dr. Eunice Johannson says:

    The messages within this are so clear and I know will be helpful to many, many parents who love their children and want to do their best. As a psychologist, I see the Cognitive Behavioral strategies within this that work so well in restoring self-esteem and a sense of self worth, and healing parent child and adult-adult relationships to move forward positively for well-being. This article is very well done, and with your permission Dr. Brown i would like to print off copies to give out to clients.

  5. ian klepsch says:

    Thank you for the article.

    What I find difficult as a parent is to constantly be able to analyse my actions / reactions to situations that effect my children. I fail every time, and most times I am not even that self aware enough to begin. So much cause and effect of my parenting slips by unquantified. The results are always visible much later, and then I struggle to recall where I could have been more on top of this or that.


    What I do is try and be as positive as I can when it comes to any occurrence with my kids. This puts me in the best frame of mind to start anything with them and then I do not have to over analyse myself.

    Then I can just observe if they are happy and content and socially active and that in turn boosts my self confidence as a father witch then makes it all easier to be in the right frame of mind when I am being dad.

    1. Dear Ian Klepsch,

      Thank you for taking the time to reply to my latest article and offering genuine feedback. Ian, I am struck by your sincerity and forthrightness. Having the courage to be forthright with our disappointments in ourselves and others is half the battle. Often, I have found that the greatest difficulty in the therapeutic session, is having parents recognize that they do not have to be perfect. We are all on a learning curve to being better parents. Furthermore, your sincere reply tells me that you have recognized some areas of limitations that you are striving to improve. I applaud you for showing such courage and sincerity in this forum. Finally, thank you for being authentically you; your children and other readers will gain from your strength of being genuine.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  6. Rondy says:

    Like always, as parents we wish the best for our children in their passage from childhood to adulthood. It is indeed a pleasure to foster positivity and self esteem in our childern but occaisionally we do have to point out the negative attitudes and actions in our children and foster empathy for the possible hurt they have imparted to others. The trick is to bring the experience around from a negative event into a positive one and a learning experience. This hopefully gives them skills to deal positively with hurts and wrongs done to themselves. Life, whether we like it or not, is full of negative hits to our self esteem and positivity. We need our children to experience hurt and negativity to be able to teach them how to change their reaction to it. This would be for themselves and later on for others around them and their own children.
    I am not so sure about the closing argument that children are able to filter out the good and the bad we communicate. I find they are so trusting that sometimes our communication can be misconstrued, misunderstood or we don’t realize that we have been unkind. This is where we need to foster questioning and communication, particularly child to parent. We need to let them clarify and challenge as they get older and have enough self esteem and repect ourselves to own up to when we are wrong or clarify a miscommunication.

    1. Dear Rondy,

      First of all, thank you for your thoughtful reply and review of my latest article. I agree that “…as parents we wish the best for our children in their passage from childhood to adulthood.” Furthermore I agree that we must help guide our children down empathetic pathways, but in “all things” we can do it with a positive mindset.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to reply and offer your feedback.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  7. Tracy says:

    Thank you again Dr Brown for your inspiring words. It is often scary to be reminded that our lives and emotional and mental states can have such an effect on our children. It reminds me to take the time I need to focus on my own personal baggage and affairs so that I can then focus all my positive energy and love and support toward my family. This same love and support that is so essential for the welfare of our children is also essential for all the loved ones in our home. I am speaking specifically about our spouses. A marriage is held together by the love and respect we have for each other and words of encouragement, love and support should be spoken aloud and often. Teach our children by example..

    Thank you again for the always needed reminders.


    1. Dear Tracy,

      I sure appreciate your willingness to offer feedback to my latest article. You are correct that our “…children (learn) by example.” It is important that in the dichotomy of the home, that we offer a spirit of unconditional acceptance, love, and inspiration. As parents, we are the beacon of hope for our children; if we quench our beacon by being other than supportive, then we increase the difficulties our children may face in life. It is vitally important that parents develop an environment not only of unconditional love, acceptance, and support, but also an unconditional environment of forgiveness, mercy, and grace. As parents, we teach this by forgiving one-another, then moving forward with our lives.

      Again, thank you for your time and thoughtful review.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

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