Praise Your Child’s Strengths

November 13, 2014

In this world today of social media, we all try to put our best selves forward, always hiding our flaws with filters and carefully edited words. And yes, I am guilty of it too.

The message we send our kids, well it’s simple: BE PERFECT! (Well, at least on the outside.)

But what if we tried to show who we are, flaws and all? I hope to do that with this series.

All my life until recently, I danced. I unofficially quit at 23 after two long years of physical therapy (tore a ligament in my left shoulder). Dancing was my strength, my one good thing that I consistently excelled at without too much effort. Recently, people who knew me asked if I was still dancing and I sheepishly said no. BUT! I told them that honestly, I am not sure why I stopped, but deep down I knew. My one thing I was perfect at was taken away from me.

I was told practice makes perfect as a child struggling with processing issues in reading and writing. If I was absolutely perfect, I knew no one would see my flaws.

I told myself that if only I was perfect, my learning disability would disappear.

It hasn’t ever.

The point of the story is that praise for a child’s strength, be it arts or athletic ability, should be about effort and process rather than result or product. (Yes, I snuck in a teachable moment.)

Not just that the result looks x or y or z, but that you tried your personal best.

If your child is stuck, work with them to figure it out or find another way to approach the problem.

Revisit the issue later. Sometimes we need to step away and breathe.

Because—take it from me—for children with any learning differences, they are their worse critic.

P.S. Oh, and I now balance my dancing with activities in yoga and will soon add swimming to my list. :)

Cheers and Happy Learning,
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