TalkBack To Vicki Jardine

A TalkBack on Parenting Issues

Allow Your Child to Strive and Thrive May 13, 2009

Little girl HelpingI have been working with some quite privileged children lately.  Well they are privileged in some ways.  They are paupers in other ways.

For example, their families have maids for each child.  No, I do not mean nannies….I mean ‘maids’.  These maids do not contribute to the social development of the children, but merely ‘do’ everything for them.  If they use something, the maid puts it away.  If they need clothes, the maid gets them.  If they are off to school, the maid carries their bags and hands it to the ‘driver’ who takes them to school.

Needless to say, these children come to deal with the world almost in a passive way.  They are not responsible for making things happen in their daily lives, and yet they go without nothing.

Now you would think that they might have an elevated view of themselves.  But they don’t.  In fact, they are hugely lacking in self-esteem and this is what I want to talk about today.

Our children need to be given responsibility even if it’s for no other reason than to provide them the opportunity to discover their own potential.  If that were the only benefit, then it would be enough reason.  But it’s not the only benefit. 

By allowing our children to have to put effort into the daily-ness of life, things like picking up their own clothes, making their own bed, clearing the table after a meal etc., we enable them to feel like we think they are capable, as well.  It’s beautiful.  Children need their parents or guardians to recognize them for their efforts, (not so much their achievement…that comes later….first comes effort). 

Thinking well of yourself is one thing, but when it is confirmed by those around you it carries the weight that gives you conviction.

And isn’t that what we want?  Don’t we want young children who are absolutely convinced of their own strengths and abilities, who don’t waste any of their developmental years feeling insecure and inadequate?

So next time your child wants you to carry their school things, remind them that they are able-bodied young people who can do this for themselves.  Let them pick up their own rooms, before you go in and ‘fix’ it.  Let them feel like they did it.  They need to feel proud of themselves for ordinary things.  And don’t forget to recognize their efforts.  Don’t criticize the job they do.  Simply find something to praise.  Even a child with lazy tendencies will strive harder if they know there will be some praise. 

Children love you to look them in the eye admiringly.  They need this from you.  They can’t get too much of this kind of attention.  It makes them feel so good about themselves.

Think about the adults you know.  Which of them would you say actually feel good about themselves?  Have you ever known an adult who you thought had a lot more potential than what their lives were reflecting?  Have you ever wondered why?

It’s because somewhere along the line, the adults in their life when they were a child, failed to praise them and to recognize their efforts and their strengths. 

Let’s not do that to our own children.  Give them opportunities to perform and to succeed and to fail.  Some children don’t attempt things because they are afraid to fail.  But if the adults in their life would praise their effort, then they will come to look at failure another way and not be intimidated by the thought of failing at something.

This may seem like a ridiculously small thing…but in the scheme of your child’s life, this is actually one of the most important ‘gifts’ you can give your child.

I feel sorry for the seemingly ‘privileged’ children I have been working with.  After all, it seems they are actually ‘under’-privileged.

Talk Back to me.  I want to hear what you think some of the other benefits of allowing your child to strive, might be.  Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the rest of the parenting world.

Warmest Wishes

Vicki Jardine

 

Being Proud of Yourself – A Skill To Teach Your Child March 20, 2009

Highly Successful Kids know what it means to be ‘PROUD OF THEMSELVES’.  

Confident kids know the difference between feeling happy and feeling proud.  If you want your kids to really be successful in their lives they will need to be able to recognize and identify those things about themselves that make them feel ‘proud’.

proud-girlThis week I was with a wonderful 8 year old girl who got the best report card and I went with her to her ‘Open House’ at school.  Her teacher praised her so highly and this little girl showed me all her work which was laid out neatly on her desk.  I was so proud of what I was seeing in this little girl.

On the way back to the car I said to her, “You must be so proud of yourself”.

She said yes.  I asked her, “Tell me what things you are proud of yourself for?”

She replied, “I’m proud of myself for having a wonderful Mom and for being born and ‘cos you’re proud of me”.

And no, I am not her Mom.  Her Mom works nights and didn’t go to any open houses  at school this year.

Think about it for just a minute!  Think from the point of view of an 8 year old.  How does an 8 year old know that they are feeling ‘pride’ in themselves?   

They know they need to make adults proud of them.

What they don’t know is that they need to feel PROUD OF THEMSELVES too. 

They know when adults say ‘Oh, you can be so proud of yourself’, that it means you can feel happy with yourself.  The problem here is that they miss out on some of the meaning of ‘being proud of themselves’.  They need adults to help them see things about themselves about which to be proud.

To be proud of yourself is to recognize something that you know is ‘great’ about yourself.  It is more than just having a general feeling of being pleased with yourself.

Children who grow up with healthy self-esteem have learned how to recognize things about themselves that are positive.  Isn’t this the goal? To raise happy, confident  and successful kids?

Let’s talk about recognition for a minute!

  • To recognize something you need to know what it looks like in the first place (be familiar with it).
  • It helps if you are aware of ‘looking for it’.
  • If you recognize something, then it is good to be able to name it and know how it is different to other things.

Children need adults to help them differentiate and name their feelings.  Remember, they do not have the maturity or the vocabulary and this is one of the most important roles a parent or caregiver can have. 

As a parent or caregiver, you want to be focused all day, every day on ‘what a child does that is positive’.  All too often, adults only speak to children about ‘poor or undesirable’ behaviours or actions.

If you want to raise a highly successful child, you will need to turn that around and begin to focus your own attention on looking for opportunities to point out to the child how ‘terrific’ they are. 

Children need the adults in their life to be specific about what they are doing right.  Even the most disruptive and seemingly ‘naughty’ children are wanting to be told what they are doing right, so they can do it more often. 

Adults are the key to helping children to choose positive behaviours over negative ones.  So let’s just take responsibility for that right now and start looking for opportunities to tell children what they are doing ‘right’.

Steps to help a child feel  ‘Proud of Themselves’:

  • Look for positive things to Praise.
  • Focus only on these positive things.
  • Praise the child in detail. 

For example,Well done, Tommy!  You put the book down so nicely.  I am so proud of you for putting the book down nicely.  That’s the right way to treat books. In this example, Tommy (who doesn’t normally have a lot of respect for books and often throws them or stands on them) has been praised for something he was not even conscious of doing right.  He is told that the adult is proud of him and at least two times he is told what he did that was good. 

  • Anchor that good feeling for the child.  For example, while praising the child
  • make sure you look him/her in the eye. 
  • Smile and nod your head.   And most importantly,
  • Place your hand on the child’s head, shoulder or neck in a loving and affectionate way. 

The positive feelings of being verbally praised are backed up by the wonderfully warm feelings of having positive attention of an adult who has taken the time to look right at the child and to stroke them and let them know this is a ‘big deal’.

  • Tell another adult about the event that you want the child to feel pride over.  Let them hear you speaking of them positively to others.

So if you want to raise a child with healthy self-esteem and confidence, then take the time to teach them how to be proud of themselves for every little thing.  A child who feels good about themselves, makes better choices and experiences more success daily. 

Think of self-pride as a skill that needs to be taught to children.  Just imagine the difference in your own life, if you had more self-pride!  The benefits of feeling proud of yourself are endless.  This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.  So why not give this skill to your child, today!

So let’s start right now to show children know what it means to be proud of themselves!

Talk Back to me about this all-important topic.  Let me know your stories about your kids and how they developed pride in themselves.  Share your ideas so other parents can benefit.  Remember, this is a ‘Parenting Community’ and you are a part of it.  The children really are the future.

Till next time,

Vicki

 

Let’s talk about ‘Bullying’. February 26, 2009

bullying

What do you think constitutes ‘bullying’?  Everyone gets picked on at one time or another in their young lives.   How can a parent know if their child is being bullied?  Does bullying imply continued and frequent events, or can a single event be identified as ‘bullying’?  How harmful is bullying to the ‘victim’ child?  Is bullying harmful to the children doing the bullying?

How can a parent truly re-establish their child’s confidence after they have been bullied?

These questions are all important to consider if you are a parent, caregiver or educator.  Bullying is an unhealthy manifestation of low self-esteem on the part of the bully/s.  When a person (sadly some adults are bullies too), bullies someone, they feel they are elevating themselves and showing that they are more powerful than the victim.  Bullies often appeal to the crowd who are also lacking in sufficient self-esteem to ‘go along’ with behaviours they know are not acceptable.  The ‘peer pressure’ that is created by a bully is almost ‘tangible’.  Children who would otherwise not behave in a cruel manner side with the bully rather than become a target of the bully themselves. 

In times past, some degree of ‘bullying’ was actually acceptable in as much as it was thought that it allowed the development of some ‘life skills’ in which children could learn to defend themselves and stick up for themselves.  Most cases of bullying were never identified as bullying and many times the victim was told to ‘toughen up’.

So what we have is a society in which some parents were themselves ‘schoolyard bullies’ and no one really thought anything much about it. 

Add into the equation that most parents will feel defensive of their child if he/she is accused of bullying at school. 

So the stage is set.  But these days we know that bullying can have serious consequences, not the least of which is that of the ‘suicide’ of the victim. 

So I would like to see adults address this issue as the serious issue that it is.  I would like to have some input from parents whose child has been bullied.  I would like to give them this space to say what they saw as the ‘real problem’ and what they feel the ‘best solution’ would be.  I would like these parents to describe for other parents what they wrestled with in order to restore their child’s confidence.

I also want to hear from parents of children who have been accused of bullying.  I believe these parents too may be struggling to ‘help’ their child to interact more positively.  I believe that since ‘bullying’ has become a recognized issue, there are some children all too ready to accuse others of bullying, which is not really a desirable outcome of addressing the problem.

I would like to hear from educators for whom the whole issue of bullying has dominated large portions of ‘teaching time’ and who have also had to ‘deal’ with both sets of parents (the victims and the bully’s).

Talk back to me, people. 

Share your experiences and let’s try to make the way we do things for kids more relevant to the ‘real world’.

Here’s to your child’s success!

Vicki Jardine

 

Healthy Self-Esteem vs. Unhealthy Self-Esteem January 15, 2009

Healthy Self-Esteem!
Healthy Self-Esteem!

The following is a quote from a magazine and it really caught my eye.  It was part of a list of 10 things your child will not learn at school.  It states:

The world won’t care about your self- esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

 

How do you feel about that statement?

 

I am sure it was written a little ‘tongue-in-cheek’, however I feel that the statement seems to somehow imply that a child should only possess self-esteem if and when they have accomplished something.

 

This is the complete antitheses of what I believe. 

I believe deep-seated self-esteem is only achieved when a child knows that he is valued just for ‘being’ and his/her value is not dependent on anything that he/she does.  It is unconditional.  It supersedes behaviours and accomplishments. 

In fact, I propose that in order for our children to achieve, they must first possess self-esteem.  A child needs to feel good about themselves in order to accomplish things, especially things that the world would notice.

If we look at famous achievers like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, just to name a few in the sporting world, we know that it must feel very good to win as they do.  They must feel very good about themselves. 

However, what we see when we look at them is humility and confidence. 

And while it is true, that your child may not attract the kind of acclaim and applause that Lance, Tiger and Michael do,  there is little benefit to your child to inform them of that fact.   

Obviously I am referring to ‘healthy self-esteem’ here.  There is such a thing as ‘unhealthy self-esteem’.  Parents can recognize one from the other very easily.  Simply ask, does my child’s self-esteem motivate him/her to achieve or does it prevent him/her from achieving?  If it is ‘big head’ and no action, then it is un-healthy self-esteem.

I would like to re-word that statement above to read:

The world will not reward you for having unhealthy self-esteem.  What the world respects is healthy self-esteem which is evidenced by your wonderful achievements.

What do you think about the statement now? 

Do you agree with either statement? 

Why? 

Have your say about this very ‘hot’ topic. 

 

Talkback to me Now.  Leave a comment on this post.

 

Warmest Wishes

Vicki Jardine

 

 

 

 

Parenting Intentionally to Build Up Your Child’s Confidence November 10, 2008

dreamstime_1777143

Imagine daily life from your child’s point of view.  I mean really put yourself in your child’s shoes.  How many times in one day is your child’s ability stretched and how many incidences of perceived failure does your child experience every single day in play or at school or at home?

The sheer number of challenges your child faces each and every day would exhaust an adult completely.  We would be so discouraged if every day we existed on such a steep learning curve as our children deal with daily.   

It is a series of ‘learning experiences’ and ‘personal challenges’.  Can you imagine yourself experiencing even one day like your child’s?  No wonder so many children have such low self-esteem.

What kind of a loving and understanding support are you to your child?  How does your child view you?  Are you the ‘safe haven’, the ‘sanctuary’, where he/she is safe and valued and ‘restored’ to feeling confident? 

Or are you the main source of your child’s feelings of failure and discouragement?  Unintentionally, of course!

Couldn’t we as parents decided INTENTIONALLY to be the source of children’s COURAGE!!!  The source of their CONFIDENCE!

We could consciously work with our children to help them develop self-confidence.  And what might this do for the way we view ourselves as parents?  Might we then feel less conflicted and more confident ourselves?  I believe so, because when you help your child develop confidence, you gain a more communicative, cooperative, helpful, happy and peaceful child who has problem-solving skills and you know you helped make the difference.  I think parents suffer a lot of unnecessary guilt in relation to their children’s emotional needs, brought on by modern lifestyles and the pace of life, generally.

The solution lies in embedding the parenting activities that you are already doing with a philosophy that if your actions as a parent encourage your child, then your child will develop confidence.   No need to add complicated systems and routines to your already busy day.  Simply learn to think differently about how to do the things you are already doing with your children.

If a parent were to come from a place of ‘How can I make sure that every interaction I have with my child leads to him/her building self-confidence?’ Then children would begin to blossom and family life would be a lot easier for parents as a result, too. 

 

So, from now on why not evaluate your interactions with your child in terms of

             Did I just build my child’s confidence?

             Did I just destroy my child’s confidence?

 

Imagine the effect that would that have on our parenting?  Doesn’t this simplify things for moms and dads without adding anything to their endless lists of things that have to be done. 

Talk back to me.  Let me know what you think?  Post a comment.