We work hard to teach our children lessons as they grow. We want them to learn how to succeed socially, emotionally and cognitively. We have a veritable checklist of things that we know we need to teach them. They need to have manners, wait their turn, share and care. We want them to do their homework, study and avoid peer pressure. Often, we believe that if we have imparted the basics, the rest will come. I think we need to include a few more lessons than we do. I think we need to make a conscious effort to teach our children that:
- You should give credit where credit is due. Young children are usually taught to congratulate each other. In preschool classes, we literally applaud our classmates for singing a great song, building a huge tower and even success in the potty. At some point, that changes and our sense of competition combined with insecurities can impede our ability to point out someone else’s contribution to our world. We need to tell our children that they cannot think of everything and the person who did should be credited. People respect those who give credit where credit is due. Our children need to grow up knowing that they will garner more respect for applauding others than protecting their own ego.
- Other people are not required to like you and that’s okay. From the time children are very young, we misuse the word “friend” and feed the belief that everyone should be friends and like each other. It is important to teach our children to be kind. Not everyone has to be friends. Not everyone will like them and that is okay. We are all different with different perceptions and tastes. The secret to social success is seeking out those like us, not seeking adoration from everyone. We need to teach our children that not everyone will like us but some people will. Find those people and don’t worry about the others.
- You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses – Develop your own goals. Many a teen ulcer has started over comparing themselves to their friends. They compare how many honors courses they have and which college said what to them. They care more about what others will think of their choices than what they really want. Children can be taught to have a desire to succeed by focusing on their own goals rather than a comparison to other people. Our children naturally want to be accepted and so the competition begins. We need to consistently remind them that happiness comes from self-satisfaction. No one is the same. They don’t have to take the same path as everyone else. They are only required to find their own happiness.
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Copyright 2013 © Cindy Terebush
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