What are the personality traits that distinguish successful children? How can parents teach them? A psychologist gives advice.
“As an educational psychologist, I learned a very important lesson: Successful people are made, not born.” Michele Borba works with children, many of whom live in poverty, have been abused, or have psychological or physical disabilities. She has set herself the goal of giving these children the opportunity to lead fulfilling and successful lives.
“Children need a safe, loving, and orderly childhood, but they also need independence, competence, and motivation to thrive,” the psychologist wrote in her CNBC article. She has identified some of the skills children need to develop mental toughness and flexibility, social skills, morale and self-awareness. We present four of them in more detail.
According to the author, self-esteem and self-confidence are often equated. But “there is little evidence that boosting self-esteem increases academic success or even true happiness,” Purba continues. However, the studies I have examined show that children who attribute their scores to their own efforts are more successful in life than children who believe that they have no effect on their academic success.
Confident kids know they can fail – but they can also get back on their feet
Instead, true self-confidence will come from a child doing well, facing obstacles and finding their own solutions. On the other hand, if parents constantly solve their children’s problems on their own, then this will only indirectly say to the young: “My parents do not think that I can do this on my own.” Children who are confident in themselves will know that they can fail at something – “but they also know that they can get back on their feet.”
The author divides this strength of character into three areas:
- Empathy: The ability to share and empathize with another person’s feelings
- Behavioral empathy: Acting out of compassion
- Cognitive empathy: the ability to understand someone else’s thoughts and put yourself in their shoes
Developing empathy requires an emotional vocabulary – parents can positively influence the building of this vocabulary by, for example:
- Naming feelings: Parents can express their children’s feelings specifically in context, which helps youngsters build their own vocabulary. For example: “You are happy!” or “You seem upset to me.”
- Asking Questions: By asking their children how they feel, parents help them express themselves. Example: “How did you feel about that?” or “You seem scared, right?”
- Communicating one’s feelings: Expressing one’s feelings also gives children the security of having a space where feelings can be named. For example, “I haven’t slept much today, so I’m a little irritable.” or “I am frustrated by this article.”
- Recognize other people’s emotions: When shopping or at the pool, parents can practice reading other people’s emotions from their body language and facial expressions with their children. “How do you think this person is feeling now?” and “Have you ever felt this way?” Are good examples of questions.
On the other hand, it is certainly important to give space to your feelings and not suppress them – but a psychiatrist describes a certain control of one’s attention, feelings, thoughts and, above all, one’s actions as “one of the strengths most associated with success”.
In pedagogy, for example, “attention signals”, such as a small bell ring, or a verbal signal such as: “pens down, eyes on me” are used. Parents can develop and practice signaling with their offspring when they want the little ones’ attention. For example, “I need your attention in a minute.” Then: “Are you ready to listen?”
It may also be helpful to use rest periods, which give children time to think before taking action. These pauses can be preceded by stimuli such as “If you are angry, count to 10 before answering.”
To help children develop their curiosity, the psychologist loves to use toys, tools and open-ended games. “Give your offspring paint, yarn, and popsicle sticks to build constructions out of,” one of the author’s tips.
Another good way to embody curiosity is: “Instead of saying: ‘This won’t work,’ it is better to say: ‘Let’s see what happens! Instead of giving answers, ask: “What do you think?”, “How do you know that?” or “How do you know that?” Even when reading or watching a movie together, parents can formulate open-ended questions like: “I wonder where the character is headed.” Main.” or “I wonder why they are doing that now.” or “I wonder what will happen next”.
Source used: cnbc.com