All parents would like to have happy and bright children. But the more you force things, the less quickly these dreams become reality. Advocate not to console too much or applaud your offspring.
The best parents are those who get involved and set high goals, but at the same time respect the autonomy of their children. The latter, in their future life, academic, psychological and social, will do better than others.
Do not over compliment
What is expected of parents essentially, is certainly to cultivate motivation. Young children would be more motivated to do more difficult things if they do not get too much praise for their intelligence and talent. These kids will challenge themselves to go beyond (not to be awarded), whether they expect success or not.
Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, is doing a great job. She asks young children to make a simple puzzle in a room. For the most part, it’s not a big problem. Then Dweck explains to some children – not all – how smart they are. What is perhaps surprising is that children who are not complimented are the most motivated to succeed in increasingly complicated puzzles. They develop more self-confidence and progress further in solving puzzles. The challenge would be related to the risk of losing their status as a ‘smart’ child.
Do not do everything for your child
Other surveys come to the same conclusion and correspond to what Madeline Levine practiced 25 years ago. The key to a child’s growth is to develop traits such as autonomy, self-confidence, and sense of reality. When your child gets there, congratulate him and continue. If you get intoxicated too much and for nothing in your life, your child will end up feeling bad about himself (if he is young) and will be angry at you (once a teenager).
Do not follow homework
Another characteristic of a successful education is to let the children be independent and limit their interventions to a minimum. It boosts motivation, self-confidence, sense of realities, results in orientation and it also makes them happier.
It would be unhealthy for parents to follow their children’s work every day, to push them to write or to constantly phone them to control them. Once you have taught them something, stay there. As a parent, any additional intervention would be counterproductive.
But the opposite extreme, to deny, is not good either, naturally. When it comes to homework, it’s easy for you to know if you’re doing the right thing or not. When a child does not want to do a homework, a good parent will make sure he sits down and gets on with it. Not because otherwise the child would not be a good student but because it is important to learn and have a good work discipline.
It’s not healthy to help the child and do his homework with him, that’s not the way he can get by on his own. Some parents appropriate the school successes of their offspring as if they had accomplished with them (“we are going to get this diploma”). If motivation and reward always come from outside (parents), your child will not develop a personality of their own.
Let your child make mistakes
Staying away from your children and letting them make mistakes is one of the biggest challenges of education. When parents teach their toddlers to walk, they concede to see them first fall many times before they can make their first steps alone. Punishing them at that time or catching them is clearly discouraged. It’s the same for life later. The task of a child is to grow, and yours is to keep your anxieties under control, so you do not hinder his path to self-reliance.
Choose your moment
Of course, the risks of error have another importance for older children and teenagers. Parents can clearly distinguish when to trust their children and those where more active support is needed. Because the rhythm according to which the child grows depends on it.
A parent who interferes too much and intervenes too much and look like afraid of seeing his child unhappy. But that’s not the right attitude. It is by learning to commit mistakes and tolerating failures on the road to success that we access happiness, whether we are children or adults.
Be yourself happy
The children quickly understood us. If you want to promote values to your children, start by applying them yourself. The best you can do is show them the example of a successful adult life. Unhappy parents will tend to console faster.
A good parent …
- … is warm
- … has authority
- … gives autonomy
- … does not manipulate by arousing in the child any feeling of shame or guilt
- … trust his children
- … demonstrates the values he teaches to his offspring
- … provides a consistent and reliable environment
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