Childhood and teen years can often be bumpy without added peer pressure, school stress and a new year full of new goals ahead. Now is the time to remind your child they are awesome - just the way they are.
“Your kids learn and grow every day and, like any other human on this planet, they make mistakes and fall short of their own expectations for themselves," Kathryn Thompson, author of Drops of Awesome, wisely points out.
"However, for every small failure, there are a thousand little things they do right.
"The best thing you can do for your kids is teaching them to focus on their successes. When they mess up, have them say something like, 'That happened. What’s next?'"
Here are Kathryn's daily tips for accentuating awesomeness:
- When your child is struggling to recognise their own 'awesome,' challenge them to say, “Drops of awesome!” for every tiny thing they do right. It will soon become obvious to them how truly awesome they are.
- Nothing can remove a kid’s inner 'awesome', but focusing on their failures, struggles, and imperfections can make it difficult for them to recognise.
- "Children, like adults, lose sight of their 'awesome' when you, others, or their internal dialogues repeatedly criticise them," cautions Kathryn. "Silence your child’s inner critic by helping her build the habit of verbalising her small victories. When she puts herself down, ask her to list things that she’s doing right. It’s not enough to praise her. She needs to do the mental work and recognize her wins. This can be difficult at first, especially if she has entrenched habits of only noticing her failures. Keep working with her! She is capable of seeing the good, and it will be worth the effort."
- Kids’ inner 'awesome' grows as they succeed and recognise those successes. "Set your children up with chances for success and then help them analyse and draw attention to their wins. This can be something small like telling them about something you’re struggling with, giving them a chance to exercise empathy, and then thanking them for listening."
- For your child, keep things simple. Each day before bed, have him or her write down or tell you ten things they did well. These can be as simple as, “I smiled at Ashley on the bus", "I got out of bed when my alarm went off for the second time", "I ate a green bean at dinner," "I picked my coat up off the floor when you asked me to", or "I did my best work in math class.”
Setting An Awesome Example
Each day, consider these steps to help accentuate your child - and your - inner awesomeness.
When was the last time I sincerely complimented my child? If you haven’t today, then do so. Even if you whisper it to them as they sleep. Make compliments - or at least acknowledgements for good behaviour and achievements - a habit. Kindness breeds kindness, and you will teach yourself a thing or two about self-esteem and encouragement in the process.
Ask yourself, 'did my conversations with my child this week focus more on what they needed to do better or what they were already doing well?'
'Am I speaking positively to my child about others and myself?'
As Kathryn points out: “Your kids learn a lot about how they should think of themselves by listening to how you talk about yourself."
Model positive self-talk such as ‘What was my favorite interaction with my child this week?’ and ‘In what happy ways did my child surprise me this week?’