Monday, May 24, 2010

Creating a Summer that Rocks, Part 4!

A little over two weeks remain in the school year here in south Florida. Students are preparing for exams and completing projects (or not!) and thinking about the last days of school. At Whole Hearted Parenting, we are thinking about more ways for you to create a summer that rocks! In Part 1 of this series, we talked about how your focus – the things you concentrate on or wish to accomplish – may be different during the summer. Today’s post is all about focusing on your child’s strengths.

In a few weeks when your child’s final report card comes home, consider what grades are going to get the greatest amount of attention. Will it be the A’s and B’s or that single C or D? It is typically the lowest grade that receives the most attention. Often the places where a child is struggling or is the most challenged are the places on which we focus. As Dr. Becky Bailey, author and creator of Conscious Discipline©, says, “We get what we focus on” and you’ve probably heard a variation on this concept, which is “what we focus on expands.” Shifting your focus from your child’s challenges to his strengths has many advantages.

One of the advantages of focusing on your child’s strengths is that it is encouraging. Isn’t is easy to slide into being critical and discouraging when talking with a child about that “D” on the report card, the dishes that were not put in the dishwasher or the uniforms that were not put in the dirty clothes hamper? By focusing on what your child does well and what he DOES do, you become more encouraging and he becomes more encouraged. As he becomes more encouraged, you will notice more things that he does well and more that he DOES do. What we focus on expands.

A second advantage is that as your child feels more capable about his successes, he will be more willing to take healthy risks that stretch his abilities. Self-esteem is feeling loveable and capable. As he feels more capable, his self-esteem will rise. He will feel more confident experiencing something new – something he may not be great at…yet!

Use the summer to focus on your child’s strengths. For instance, my daughter loves caring for younger children, and she is approaching the age when she can baby sit. This summer she will take a course to become a certified babysitter. Her love for children is her strength. Math is not. The success she will experience in learning the skills to be a babysitter will assist her in moving through the challenges of math. Encouragement is fuel for handling the difficult spots.

Summer Suggestion #4: Focus on your child’s strength’s.

For more ideas for creating a cooperative and connected summer, please read Whole Hearted Parenting’s book, 20 Steps to a Summer that Rocks!

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