Every child has an inner well of positive emotion. Wells that are full provide the ingredients for successful interactions and growth opportunities in our little ones. Confidence, acceptance, compassion, competitiveness, optimism all flow from this well.
Children perform better when they feel better about themselves. This is a fairly straightforward and simple concept. However, as parents, we often get caught up in feeling we need to fix every perceived shortcoming as they happen. Please notice the use of “perceived”. Not everything that you perceive as a parent truly matters in the whole of life. It is ok to let kids be kids.
As a father and coach, I have found that human nature, especially in youth, pushes just hard enough not to get yelled at. There are far better ways to get a child to want to please you and run through the proverbial brick wall for you! Yelling and punishments are not motivators! They tear down a child’s confidence and dry up the emotional well, often forcing them to look towards other mentors to help refill the well.
Constantly beating a kid over the head with what you see as shortcomings take water from this well. Constantly taking digs in a joking manner equally add up and deplete the well. Kids naturally want to please us. Let them. How many times have you walked through the door after a long day and immediately start asking about the test they didn’t do well on, or the room that wasn’t cleaned? Ask them about their day, intently listen and find the positive that you can praise. The chores can wait, corrections can wait, life mentoring cannot.
Help them maintain balance, help them bring water to the well when it ebbs. Teach them the power of positivity. After all, we are raising the next generation. Let’s make it a great one!