Career & Education

Love children for who they are, not whom you'd like them to be

Dr Karla

Sunday, January 06, 2019

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Happy new year, all! Let us greet 2019 with a new, improved attitude towards our children. Many of us are so caught up with enhancing our children that we often forget to notice and comment on the 'good' qualities.

Yes, all of us, young or old, possess qualities that could do with improvement. At the same time, we also have admirable qualities because we are all unique. So how about trying a new approach this year, one that is filled with gratitude and adoration for our children? By focusing on the positive, we create an environment that nurtures and encourages our children's abilities. This helps them to develop enriched confidence and good self-esteem and, for sure, this spills over into improved academic performance.

When we focus on strengths rather than weaknesses, our children see themselves in a different light than when we constantly reprimand and quarrel and focus mainly on the negative qualities. A favourable assessment helps them to see that they are capable and urges them to try harder to succeed.

This year, make an intentional effort to ensure that your children know that you appreciate them for who they are and not for whom you would like them to be. Encourage hobbies and activities that your child enjoys and is good at. Demonstrate appreciation for their efforts.

Teaching and instilling positive thinking and attitudes in our children wards off pessimism, which can be bred from being surrounded by constant negativity. The following are just a few issues that may lead to pessimism in children:

• Too much criticism from parents

• Over-protectiveness

• Domestic problems at home

• Parents' negativity

• Psychological issues

• Alcoholism and drug abuse at home and/or by loved ones

• Aggression

Teaching Positive thinking

Positive thinking is not about controlling the events of life; it is about being able to control one's reaction to the event. Teaching kids to be positive is beneficial to both you as a parent, as well as the child. The earlier you teach them this, the sooner they will create it as a healthy habit. This will most certainly lead to a much greater chance of leading happy, healthy and successful lives as adults.

Here are some ideas about how you can teach your child to think positively.

Be a good example

As with all things, you are the greatest influence on your child. Therefore, you must 'practise what you preach'. Children learn what they see and they will copy your actions. It is important for you to maintain a positive attitude in your own life and with your own trials.

• Teach them to be solution-oriented

Problem-solving is a life skill and is necessary to build confidence. One of my favourite sayings is, “There are more than one ways to skin a cat”. Simply put, when faced with challenges, if one possible solution does not work, try another, until you succeed. This helps your child to recognise that an 'answer' is always out there and sometimes we just have to think outside the box.

Encourage strong morals and values

It is your job as parents to impart values of 'right and wrong' in your kids. Hold them accountable for mistakes and teach them to follow through on commitments.

• Motivate your child

Believe in your child. Let them know that you have faith and trust in them to do their best. Encourage them to follow their dreams and to have great expectations. If your child fails at something, acknowledge the pain of disappointment then motivate him/her to pick himself/herself up and carry on.

• Set goals

Goals will help give your child direction and clarity on the outcomes they want to achieve in life. It defines structure and allows them to formulate strategies to accomplish these goals.

• Validate your child's emotions

There are no 'bad' emotions. Thoughts and feelings are valid, whether positive or negative. Acknowledge that one cannot be happy all the time. Instead, teach them to express their emotions and work through their discomfort.

You will find that the outcomes are always positive when we create and encourage positivity.

Dr Karla Hylton is the author of Yes! You Can Help Your Child Achieve Academic Success and Complete Chemistry for Caribbean High Schools . She operates Bio & Chem Tutoring, which specialises in secondary level biology and chemistry. You may reach her at (876) 564-1347, or .

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