Another school year is just about done and for many parents, and kids, it just wasn’t what was hoped for. The grades didn’t match expectations, personal projects were left unfinished, and outside goals were not realized. It’s not easy seeing so much potential go untapped. Frustration and fear often build up as weeks, months, or even years pass by with seemingly little substantial movement. How can we make sure that this disappointment doesn’t become pervasive and that self-image doesn’t become shaped by too much negativity?
Traditional parenting often leads parents to apply more pressure and increase control in hope to get their kids to achieve. Sadly, this tactic often has the opposite impact, causing kids to retreat into a place of frustration, negativity, and isolation.
Preparing for the next season
Okay I’ll admit it – I’m a Mets fan. It’s been a rough couple of years! Talk about untapped potential! Each year, as spring rolls around, I wonder what it must be like for the Mets marketing team as they seek out a new slogan to encourage Mets fans to believe that THIS will be the season when success will finally replace disappointment. Not only do they need to sell tickets, they want to motivate their players, too. (I know it’s early still, but as of this moment the Mets are in first place!)
What’s your slogan?
As adults, we can often keep our goals and our dreams to ourselves. This provides us with the freedom to try and challenge ourselves without risk of public humiliation or fear of letting others be disappointed in our failure. Our kids don’t have such luxury. They often don’t get to choose their own goals, and the ones they do they often must make very public. When things don’t go as hoped, they have to deal with not only their own disappointment, but also with the disappointment of those closest to them. Such open vulnerability can leave one hesitant to dream or to take a risk.
If you want your kids to keep on trying, even after a lackluster year, then perhaps they need someone doing some marketing for them. Just as the Mets rely on an original phrase year after year in hope for success, our children need to hear that we are always rooting for them as well. It’s not enough to just say the “right thing” – you must be inspiring and genuine in your approach. Notice his strengths, nurture his goodness. Have faith, you have a great kid at heart, he just may need more time to grow and your support will help him get there.
Interestingly, no one disputes the devastating impact that stress, a poor self-image, fear and despair can have on both body and soul. Instead, we resist the notion that positive thinking can produce the opposite effect. George Ebert