Increase Your Child's Positivity Quotient
I get so many questions from parents who are concerned that their children are not positive enough and they fear that this negativity will affect their self-esteem. They ask me what they can do to insure a sense of positive self worth and increase a child's hopefulness and confidence. Although many children are born with a predisposition for congeniality and happiness which results in positive self esteem, there are things that you can do with your child to increase these qualities.
The hard part of this assignment is that parents must do this themselves so that the children will model what the parents are doing as well as experience the results of their parents implementing the tools with them.
If you practice the following skills, you will increase a child's positivity, confidence and self-worth.
When your child has accomplished a goal it is important to notice the effort not the outcome because we don't want your child to link self-esteem solely with being successful. This is true for children who may have difficulty with learning, following directions, developing peer relationships or liking themselves. When you notice the effort that children have made you are setting them up for feeling better about themselves which motivates them to do a better job. This builds self-esteem so that children are pleased with themselves and do not need you to validate them.
This also means that you have to feel comfortable noticing your own effort and discussing this out loud with your children. It might look like "Wow this was hard to get all this gardening done but by doing it a little bit at a time helps me feel like I created a beautiful garden." Parents can share their uncomfortable feelings and still point out the positives. The scenario might sound like "Even though I've been sad about having to work later than I would have wanted, I have seen that it has really made a difference in getting this project done and I am really pleased with the fact that I put so much effort to get a difficult job done."
How comfortable are you with tooting your own horn a bit and letting your child know that you use encouragement to motivate yourself to accomplish goals and to be the best person you can be?
Unfortunately too often, children learn that happiness comes with possessions or success. You can increase the happiness factor by sharing things that you were happy about and asking them what fun things occurred in their life that day or what they are thankful for on a daily basis. Children have a better sense of self when they practice gratitude and are happy for no reason. Shawn Achors, who is a happiness researcher says that starting this practice out early teaches children to appreciate their life which is a self-esteem booster. His research also indicates that it is never too late to start and it can be implemented at any point in your family's life. Again if your children sees you doing this they will be more likely to model the behavior and do it for themselves. And let's face it, when difficult things happen to us and we can turn them around and find some sort of gratitude for them, we feel better in general and that's what we're teaching our children. When you feel better, you do better, and you enjoy life more and that truly is what successful living is all about!