Sunday, May 15, 2016

Stay connected to your children

After 40 years of teaching, I sometimes get thinking about young teachers and young parents, and feel a need to pass on some words of advice. So the following is just that, advice from someone who has a bit of experience and cares about learning and people.

We are all trying to be accepted by others, but young people may be more susceptible to the wrong signals.  When dealing with young people remember they are trying to please you, especially if you are in a position of power over them. I worked in education for over 40 years and raised two children so the insights below, while not all mine are important to helping others to maximize their potential.

Children's self-concept is being formed right this minute, and right now, they see themselves, the way you see them. So, if you see them as naughty or bad, that's how they will see themselves. If you see them as kind and wonderful, that's what they will think about themselves, too. Oh, and just so you are aware, they will always strive to live up (or down) to their self-concept; because that's what we humans do. 

If you want a person to be good and kind and caring, catch them being those things and tell them! Believe it or not people like hearing you say nice things about them, and when you see them as a good person, they will want to behave like one.  So, in summary a person will be (or try to be) whatever You Say they are!

People and young people can send mixed messages. One minute they want to be independent, the next they  want you to stay with them forever. Be connected is one of the most important thing in their life. So, while they need their freedom to safely explore, they also need you to be a safe harbor.

Our attitude affects not just their behavior, but to quote some really smart people, “Researchers have found that attachment patterns established early in life can lead to a number of outcomes. For example, children who are believe that they are securely attached at a young age, tend to develop stronger self-esteem and better self-reliance as they grow older. These children also tend to be more independent, perform better in school, have successful social relationships, and experience less depression and anxiety.”

Basically, your relationship and connectedness is setting the standard for how they will build relationships and connect with others through their whole life! Stay connected with your children!

You don't need you to be perfect. You just need you to be loving and connected. You will get through this together. Just see them as a person whose needs matter to you. 

Nurture, guide,  and love them unconditionally, because they will not be perfect either, and they will really need to know that you're the one person who sees  the good in them even when they mess up. We can learn from children, they  have a lot of things to teach us as while. Let's enjoy our ordinary and extraordinary days together, because our children and we won't be young for very long.

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