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Parents and educators, it’s never too early to empower children. You might ask, what does an empowered child look like? The answer is simple. A youngster who believes she or he is in charge of their destiny and has control over their future success.
Naturally, young children don’t internally articulate in this manner. However, if as parents and educators we create a living and learning environment that encourages fearless self-exploration, kids develop the self-confidence needed to deal with all life brings their way.
Providing a developmental culture that promotes empowerment doesn’t just “happen.”
Yes, we continually strive to be excellent parents and teachers who try to communicate in a positive self-affirming manner. We can read to our children every night, provide a safe and nurturing classroom environment and always look to reinforce the positive.
But for a child to feel truly empowered they must encounter situations that help them develop the ability to test their own strength — to succeed or fail — knowing that no matter what they are accepted and not judged.
This isn’t always an easy scenario, particularly if you are experiencing stress and worry in your own life.
“During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent and the percentage of children living with only their father increased from 1 to 4 percent. The percentage of children not living with any parent increased slightly from 3 to 4 percent.” (U.S. Census Bureau, Release Number: CB16-192 – November 16, 2016)
Raising kids in 2017 is difficult in a two-parent household and so much more so when one caregiver is absent.
Parents, you may think you have it rough — but consider the average teacher with class sizes ranging from an average of 18 to 34 students depending upon geographic location. As a teacher years ago I remember a parent complaining that she didn’t know what to do with the upcoming holidays. “All three kids will be home together,” she complained.”
Teachers are responsible for imparting vast academic knowledge while creating an atmosphere that fosters the development of well-rounded human beings. All with the impending stress of standardized tests that evaluate the child, teacher and school.
It’s not easy to create the ideal environment that optimizes and complements the innate energy and optimism of youth. But it’s so important to make sure that we are providing youngsters with every possible opportunity for the development of a positive and emotionally healthy self-image.
What can you do? Parents, be aware. Think about your communication style. The tone of voice used when you speak to your child. Look at ways to create positive moments that will help your child’s self-esteem. Ask yourself if you are making your child comfortable and secure or stressed and nervous.
You are your child’s primary go-to person. Always be available!
Educators — you have lots on your plate. Don’t be bullied by the powers that be to push for academic superiority at the expense of fostering healthy, adventurous children. Kids who will organically develop a love of learning if it is not accidentally squashed because of the pressures you face on a daily basis.
Seek out learning materials that seamlessly combine academics and social growth. Make a conscious effort to find at least one strength each of your students possesses — then build on it! Be that teacher a child remembers so fondly twenty years later!
Here’s my personal call-out to Ms. Janice Hostel and Ms. Dorothea Hartnett, two incredible teachers who I will remember for all time.
This Article’s Take-Away:
Most everyone faces enormous pressure and stress. As adults we have been conditioned to it for years. Some of us handle it more successfully than others. Do the best you can to deal with it in a way that works for you.
Now imagine that you are a child again. What would a happier childhood have looked like? What would you change if you were given the opportunity?
Take twenty minutes and jot down ideas that you will turn into empowerment action plans to help the children for whom you are responsible.
Time passes so quickly. As parents and educators it’s critical to maximize every opportunity to help young people develop into adults who will embrace life, learning and experience a sense of well-being.
If you’d like some specific strategies on empowering young children, CLICK HERE!
For more articles and Mind Acrobatics exercises to help you and your child, visit Dave Kanegis’ author page www.huffingtonpost.com/author/david-kanegis
This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post
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