Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Do you know someone that you admire or envy for their self confidence, or the way they seem to stand out in a crowd? Perhaps it is their way of being able to respond to a question or compliment without shying away or doing what I call the “Oh shucks-who me, Mam?” shuffle. This kind of self-assurance may not be innate, it may have been learned by children when they were just toddlers. More times than not this seemingly “born with it” admirable self-assurance was passed on to this person by one or both parents. You’d be surprised how much simple praise can help a child become positive, can-do adult.
What if you grew up in a family where you were expected to excel? No excuses. You never received “Good job honey!” or “I am proud of you.” Not even a hug for a job well done. Well, there is nothing you can do about your own childhood, but you can make sure you do not foist the same on your child.
I have seen a television commercial where mommy is saying to the smiling and very proud child as he points to his little potty, “Oh my what a good boy you are, I am so proud of you.” Now if you can be proud of your child’s poop, surely you owe it to the child and yourself to be proud and praise him as he makes other small and large accomplishments along to the way to adulthood. The size of the accomplishment is irrelevant, it is the act of trying that is important.
Do you have a place on the refrigerator for your child’s masterpiece? If you are not the kind of person that does not want ‘art’ on the fridge, find another special place where it can be admired all. Do you have several children? Make an art wall, hang a couple of shelves for three dimensional items they may want displayed. Buy inexpensive frames so you can frame and hang their masterpieces. What about that pencil holder made especially for you at school? Use it. When I was a kid it was pot holder’s and clay ashtray’s, using your child’s hand made gifts is not only proof that you like what they have done. It lets them know you are proud of them, saying something is too good/nice to use, so I will save it, is not the same as using it until it is ragged.
Do not compare you little one’s drawing to another child’s. Do not panic or punish if she can’t stay inside the lines. Instead get on the Internet and find a artist who has achieved fame by not staying inside the lines. Explain to her that the artist first learned how to color inside the lines and show her how to do it. Then praise her when she does, motor skills don’t always come easy to all children.