Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Parenting Tools: Expectations

All parents have expectations of their children. Setting and communicating these expectations in a healthy manner goes a long way in helping children achieve their maximum potential.

There are two primary types of expectations that can be established for kids. The first type is behavioral. Behavioral expectations demonstrate character traits that parents would like to see in their children. These may include things like manners, ambition, perseverance, respect, and the ability to take responsibility.

The second type of expectations is achievements. Achievements are based on your child accomplishing specific objectives such as developing friendships, earning certain grades, or making a team.

It is important that that the expectations you set are realistic. Expectations that are set too high or do not match your child’s personality, strengths, age, or interests can lead to all kinds of negative stress for you and your child.

Here are some helpful tips you can utilize establish healthy expectations:
· Talk to your child often so you can understand his/her strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
· Make sure that you communicate your expectations clearly and specifically.
· Ensure that your child has the resources, education, and support needed to reach set standards.
· Make sure your child knows how they, not you, benefit from meeting certain expectations and goals.
· Emphasize unmet expectations as opportunities for learning and growth as opposed to being examples of personal failure.
· Remember that your actions speak louder than words.
· Avoid using “do as I say, not as I do” as a primary parenting philosophy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Self Esteem Tool

Self Esteem Box

Clients and the therapists I supervise always ask me for tips, tools and skills to build self esteem.

The building blocks of self esteem are developed while receiving praise and accolades for successes, as well as pride for self, all throughout child development. If anything got in the way of that developmental task…a person’s self esteem is possibly less full as one would like.

One of the tools that I use is a “Success Box”. This tool is for kids, teens, and adults.

As each individual creates and fills up their “success box” they have a tangible way to access their success…and this will assist someone in building upon each success... thus building a strong sense of self esteem.

Here’s how you create or help someone create a “Success box”:

Use a shoebox or a box that is the same size and decorate the box according to your personality. (My box may have suns, starts, greens, blues and purples, pictures of animals, and perhaps a collage of beach scenes). Everyone’s box is different.

As you begin the creation process, this is your “Success Box”. Start to fill the box up with letters/cards you have received praising you from others, note cards with your daily, weekly and yearly successes (any successes), awards, and your own note cards including positive thoughts about yourself.

Parents helping their kids with a “Success Box”: use fun note cards and write your child successes daily and/or as each success occurs and give it to your child to place in their box. Include praise from teachers, other parents, siblings and adults in your child’s life.

Now the box exists for when you having a low moment: Just open the box and review the contents when you need them. We build our self esteem all throughout our life…so you can continue adding to your box and reviewing the contents whenever necessary.

Have Fun!