The world is a complex and busy place and children are exposed to more pressure than ever to perform. Some kids can keep up, but many cannot. Those who cannot keep up often take on a negative self-concept as they fall behind, and tend to believe they aren’t good enough. This belief is damaging and may lead to depression and underachievement.
Make sure your kids know what they are good at. Help them discover and celebrate their own strengths in your family life. Tell Susan, “You are the best map reader in the family.” Tell Jake, “You make the best pancakes!” And allow your children to take pride in what they do well. Build on those skills. The child who is a good map reader may have exceptional spatial abilities, and with proper encouragement may become an engineer, an air traffic controller, or an architect. The kid who is good at making pancakes may be good at making something out of nothing; he may become a brilliant entrepreneur, a business manager, or a restaurateur.
When kids feel capable they feel good about who they are. And best of all, kids who know what they are good at and who build on their strengths learn to take on an attitude of, “I can!” That attitude is one that will serve them well for life. The truth is, the world is changing so fast, we don’t know which skills will be in high demand when our kids grow up. It’s important for children to know what it feels like to be good at something. Help your son or daughter develop skills and confidence in what they are truly passionate about.
My friend’s son, Andy, is a good example. His parents enrolled him in various science camps in the summers; he excelled there. Those positive experiences gave Andy the confidence to enroll in a computer science program at a university where he is now in his junior year. Best of all, Andy is optimistic and knows how to use his strongest assets.
Amy Sluss, RN, is an author and family-life specialist. She specializes is leading mother-daughter events to empower girls, build positive body-image, and enhance mother-daughter communication. Read her blog at fab2bfem.com and consider contacting Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org to bring her powerful workshops to girls and mothers you care about.