Dr. Sheila E. Sapp
Power Up Children for Life Success
All parents/caregivers want their children to have successful and productive lives as they journey on the way to adulthood. Many parents do not realize that they have access to power tools that ensure not only their child’s /children’s success, but also enable them to become future contributing members of our society. What are those power tools and how are they obtained?
In my opinion, self-esteem, self-confidence, resilience, and perseverance are power tools that are needed for life success. Parents can nurture and foster these tools from birth up through adulthood. Children learn to love and accept themselves from significant others in their home- parents. During their early years of development, children learn from what they see and hear. They are literally soaking up everything in their environment. Parents are walking billboards and role models for their children. If they are not loved and valued in their family, they are less likely to feel loved and develop a positive strong self-esteem.
Successes and acceptance help children obtain self-confidence in their abilities as they learn how to do simple tasks such as tying their shoes, dressing themselves, brushing their teeth, recognizing/writing their name, or counting to ten. Parents/caregivers need to provide positive experiences and appropriate tasks that are developmentally appropriate for children. Remember, they are learning and need your patience as well as instruction to become skilled doing the assigned chore (s).
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from failures and disappointments. Sometimes, we as parents/caregivers, want to fix everything for our children. We want everything to be perfect and hover over them blocking the opportunity for them to develop coping skills and learn how recover from mistakes or failures. We forget about the coping skills we acquired over time to help us adjust or modify if needed. Start with simple things to help them develop resilience. For example, if your child keeps leaving their homework home, he/she should face the consequence of his/her action. Let your child come up with a plan with your guidance. Praise him/her for solving the problem. Share how you bounced back from a disappointment or failure. Children learn from parents’ actions and personal experiences too.
Learning how to stick to something or accomplish a goal no matter how long it takes is a tool that is important. Children will face many situations throughout life. As they mature, events, and situations will test their willingness to persevere despite difficulties. Parents/caregivers can nurture and assist children in developing perseverance. As children show an interest or talent in areas such as sports, dance, or music for example, provide resources needed to strengthen that skill/talent. Do not allow them to quit when things are hard or tiring. Encourage them to stay and see a project, activity, or goal to its completion.
Being a parent/caregiver is rewarding and challenging. Equipping children with power tools for future life success is critical for the overall health and well-being of children and families.