Helping Children Succeed—it does take a village!


Success, which is just another word for triumph and victory, can be elusive for many children. Humans are meant to accomplish things, and with that accomplishment comes a healthy self-esteem. But what can we do for the child who has not been successful yet? The child who is shy or sad?

Childhood success has been a hot topic over the last twenty years and researchers and psychologists have learned many things. Just a few of them are:

  1.       The more love, support, and adult contacts a child has, the more likely it is he will grow up with a good image of himself
  2.       Children need to be valued by their community and have opportunities  to help others in that community
  3.       Children need clear, consistent boundaries and high expectations. When you lower the bar for your child, they will reach that goal every time!
  4.       Young people need constructive, enriching opportunities with caring adults
  5.       Behavior (good or bad) comes from the motivation to fulfill a need, like having attention, feeling loved, or gaining praise

In the huge amount of studies, it’s found that the more resources a child has, the lower the incident of problem behaviors, drug and alcohol use, school problems, depression, and social failure. In other words, lots of assets or resources, create successful children.

Ideas for home—

      Remember that children learn by example, so showing love to a spouse is a lesson in itself. How we talk about our relatives or neighbors is being watched, and will be modeled in the future by our children.

      It’s important to be your child’s biggest fan because the outside world might not be cheering them on yet.

      Take the time to spend a few moments alone each day with each of your children so they have someone to talk to about heir private fears or their triumphs. When your children talk, really listen to them and always thank them for sharing their opinions even though you may not agree with them. Foster the idea that very few subjects are off limits to talk about.

      Eat family meals together and plan one family activity each week. The whole family should have a say in ideas for these events. It could be as simple as having a picnic at the park or camping in the backyard.

      Tell you children what you expect from them and ask them about what they expect from themselves. Look for creative ways to stimulate your child to achieve their goals and remember to admire them for more things than just their grades. There is kindness, manners, talents and ability to have empathy that are worth noting.

Ideas for in the neighborhood—

      Welcome neighbors with a plate of cookies or a liter of soda. Have your children go with you so they get to know them.

      Have your children volunteer to help elderly neighbors with yard work or other tasks that are hard. Have your child make a food item and take it to a neighbor or leave it as a secret admirer.

      Teach your children how to speak to adults and how to include other children who seem shy or who play alone to join in.

      Identify neighborhood areas where children seem to get in trouble and start a community discussion to try to improve the area.

      Have your child write notes of appreciation to positive adults in their day. Maybe the bus driver, teachers, mailman, coaches, clergy, babysitters, and your office co-workers.

Self-esteem is earned! It can’t be thrust on a child without having them work for it. You can help them get started now!