Numerous children in countries across the world are living in poverty, suffering abuse and are facing challenges in learning due to emotional or physical disabilities. An educational psychologist tried to find potential ways to improve learning among such children. During the research course, the expert found that children need safe, loving and structured childhoods. However, they also require autonomy, competence and agency to flourish.
Through research, the psychologist identified seven skills kids need to boost mental toughness, resilience, social competence, self-awareness and moral strength. These factors also differentiate successful kids from those who struggle:
A number of parents confuse self-esteem with self-confidence when they tell their kids “You’re special” or “You can be anything you want.”
However, there is little to no evidence confirming the benefits of boosting self-esteem in academic success or even providing authentic happiness. On the other hand, studies have shown that children who feel confident about their efforts and contributions are more successful than kids who believe they have no control over academic outcomes.
Children must understand the significance of self-assuredness in ensuring that they rebound from failure.
There are three distinct types included in this character strength:
· Affective empathy, when we share another’s feelings or feel their emotions;
· Behavioral empathy, when empathic concern boosts us to show compassion;
· Cognitive empathy, when we are able to understand another’s thoughts or step into their shoes.
Children need an emotional vocabulary to develop empathy. Parents can help in the process by labelling emotions in context to help them recognise their feeling. For instances: “You’re happy!” “You seem upset.”
Asking questions about feelings will also help children in recognising that all feelings are normal. Sharing feelings can also help children in expressing their feelings in a safe way. Parents must create a space by sharing their own emotions: “I didn’t sleep much so I’m irritable.” “I’m frustrated with this book.”
It is one of the most highly correlated strengths when it comes to success as it helps kids in bounding back and thrive. Parents can give signals to teach self-control to their kids. While some children may have a hard time changing focus between activities, attentive signals like ringing a bell or verbal cues, can help them in practicing self-control.
Developing a signal and practicing it together will help in boosting self control and attention from the child. Another technique includes the use of stress pauses. Slowing down helps them in taking a break to think.
For instance: “If you’re mad, count to 10 before you answer.”
“When in doubt: Stop, think, cool off.”
Integrity is referred to a set of learned beliefs, capacities, attitudes and skills aimed at creating a moral compass that children can use to know and do what’s right.
It is important to give children space to develop their own moral identity alongside. It will also allow them to separate their own identity and capabilities. Furthermore, children will be able to acknowledge and praise ethical behaviour by recognising the value to integrity.
Explain them various features of integrity to allow them to know what they did to deserve recognition.
Using the word “because” will enhance your praise and make it more specific.
“You showed integrity because you kept your promise to go with your friend even though you had to give up the slumber party!”
It is the recognition, pursuit and desire to explore challenging and uncertain events. Using various activities can be helpful in building curiosity among children. When they see unusual things or activities, they may be curious to ask questions and know more.
Another method is to model inquisitiveness. From example - Instead of saying “That won’t work,” say “Let’s see what happens!”
Perseverance helps children in keeping on when other things are challenging. Mistakes can demotivate children from reaching their target end and succeeding. Parents and teachers must not let children catastrophize their problem. They must help them in zeroing in and identifying their concerns.
There are times when children give up due to overwhelming feeling in their problems or assignments. Teaching children to categorising or dividing the tasks into smaller segments will help them in getting to the goal.
Encourage them to perform the hardest tasks first so they do not stress about them till the end. Confidence and perseverance develop gradually as children complete larger chunks alone.
Optimistic kids consider their challenges and obstacles as temporary or as opportunities which help them in overcoming the difficulties in an effective manner.
However, there are times when children can be pessimistic when they see challenges as permanent and quit easily.
Therefore, it is important to teach children optimism. Typical messages like "You can do it", "You are doing great" can offer a new outlook to children.
While change can be hard, it is important to ensure success and progress. These changes will bring great amount of productivity and success for children if done in the right manner.