These 7 skills distinguish successful children from difficult ones: psychologist and parenting expert – Reuters

When I began my career teaching at-risk children, most of my students lived in poverty, suffered abuse, or had learning, emotional, or physical difficulties. I wanted to find ways to help them succeed.

As an educational psychologist, I learned a very important lesson: Thrivers are made, not born. Children need a safe, loving, and structured childhood, but they also need autonomy, competence, and agency to thrive.

After sifting through tons of research on the traits most correlated with maximizing children’s abilities, I’ve identified seven skills children need to build mental toughness, resilience, social skills, self-confidence, and morale—and these are exactly the differences between the successful children who shine and those who struggle:

1. Confidence

2. Empathy

This strength of character comes in three different types: affective empathy, when we share each other’s feelings and feel their emotions; behavioral empathy, when empathic concern leads us to act with compassion; and cognitive empathy when we understand the thoughts of others or put ourselves in their shoes.

Children need an emotional vocabulary to develop empathy. Here’s how parents can learn:

  • Label the emotions: Intentionally put emotions in context to help them build an emotional vocabulary: “You are happy! “You seem upset.” »
  • Ask questions: “How did that make you feel?” “You look scared. I’m right ? Help your child see that all feelings are normal. The way we express them can get us into trouble.
  • Share your emotions: Children need opportunities to express their feelings safely. Create that space by sharing your own feelings: “I haven’t slept much, so I’m irritable. “I’m frustrated with this book. »
  • Note the others: Show faces and body language of people in the library or park: “How do you think this man is feeling? “Have you ever felt that?” »

3. Self-Control

4. Integrity

Integrity is a set of learned beliefs, abilities, attitudes, and skills that form a moral compass that children can use to help them see—and do—the right thing.

Formulating our own expectations is a big part of the puzzle. But it is equally important to give them space to develop their own moral identity alongside and separate from ours.

It also helps to recognize ethical behavior and to give praise when your child shows it so that they know you appreciate it. Evoke the integrity and then describe the action so your child knows what they did to earn the recognition.

The use of the word “because” makes your eulogy more specific: “You have shown integrity in refusing to share this gossip. “You showed integrity by keeping your promise to go with your boyfriend even though you had to give up the overnight stay!”

5. Curiosity

Curiosity is recognizing, striving and craving to explore new, challenging and uncertain events.

To help children develop their curiosity, I like to use toys, gadgets and open-ended games. Give them paint, yarn and popsicles to create constructions. Or give away paperclips and pipe cleaners and challenge your kids to see how many unusual ways they can use them.

Another method is to model curiosity. Instead of saying, “Can’t do that,” try “Let’s see what happens!” Instead of giving answers, ask, “What do you think?” ” ” How do you know? “How do you know that?” »

Finally, whether you’re reading a book, watching a movie, or just walking past someone, use “I wonder” questions: “I wonder where she’s going.” “I wonder why they’re doing this. “I wonder what will happen next. »

6. Endurance

Perseverance helps kids keep going when everything else makes it easy to give up.

Mistakes can prevent children from reaching the end and being successful. So don’t let your child catastrophize their problem. Instead, help them focus and spot their stumbling.

Some children drop out because they feel overwhelmed with “all the problems” or “all their homework.” Breaking tasks down into smaller parts helps kids who are having trouble concentrating or getting started.

You can teach your daughter to “cut the pieces” by covering all of her math problems with a piece of paper, for example, except for the top row. Lower the covered paper to the next row and the next as each row is completed.

Older children can write each task on a piece of paper in order of difficulty and complete one task at a time. Encourage him to do the hardest part first so he doesn’t get stressed all night. Confidence and perseverance develop as children complete larger pieces on their own.

7. Optimism

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