Hillside Counseling Newsletter March 2020

March 2020    

Dear Parent/Guardian:

The character trait for Star Student this month is Confidence.
Parents may ask, what does a confident student look like?  At Hillside we believe a confident student is someone who has a feeling or belief that they can do something well or succeed at something. The more confidence you have in yourself, the more you will value your worth. It will help you to overcome challenges that you face in life!

How do we hit that sweet spot of appropriate support and protection on the one hand, and enough independence to foster confidence and competence on the other?  Below are some tips:

1. Stop controlling and start coaching.

Coaches help kids develop skills, but kids play the game. Your job as a parent is to support your child so they can flourish and develop. Doing things for them takes away the opportunity to become competent. Doing things with teaches how and also builds confidence.

2. Let them try to do it independently from the earliest age.

Stand by, smiling, ready to be helpful in whatever way actually helps your child — but try not to intervene except to give appropriate encouragement.

3. Help them build confidence by tackling manageable challenges.

Teachers call this "scaffolding," which could be defined as the framework you give your child on which they build.  You demonstrate how to do something, or you use words to suggest a strategy.  This assistance helps them to succeed when they try something new, and small successes achieved with your help give the confidence to try new things independently.

4. Encourage! 

All humans need encouragement. Encouraging your child not only keeps them feeling more positive and motivated, it also gives them an inner voice that will help them to encourage themselves for the rest of their life. Give your child mantras to repeat when the going gets tough. "Practice makes progress!" and "If you don't succeed, try, try again!" are designed to help us manage frustration.

5. Instead of evaluating, describe and empathize.

Praise evaluates the outcome of your child's action: "Awesome job!"  It doesn't give the child much information about what was good about what they did, or why you think it was good, and it teaches the child to rely on external sources.  You can refine your praise to make it serve your child better by giving them the power to evaluate for themselves.  Just describe what they did and empathize how they must feel: "You just kept practicing and didn't give up."

6. Focus on effort, not results.

"I see you worked so hard on this."  Give positive feedback about specific things that they have control over, like hard work or perseverance, rather than things they feel no control over, like being smart. The point is never the product! Your goal is for them to keep trying, practicing, improving, and for them to learn that when they work hard, they can accomplish goals.

7. Model positive self-talk.

Whatever you model, your child will learn and will emulate. Positive self-talk has been shown to improve our ability to master difficult tasks, unlike the self-disparaging comments many of us so automatically make. If something negative about your child or equally important, about yourself starts to come out of your mouth, try to bite your tongue.

8. Don't be afraid of your child's feelings.

When your child encounters frustration, remember that your empathy will be a critical factor in their ability to overcome it.  Instead of automatically jumping in to remove the source of the frustration, give it a larger context by communicating your compassion that they have to encounter this circumstance: "I'm sorry this is so hard..."  or "This isn't how you hoped it would turn out..."

It's okay for children to get frustrated and to be disappointed. Your child may cry and sulk all day, but your unconditional understanding will help them work through it. Once your child works through their feelings, they are ready to try again the next day, especially when you express your confidence in them. That's how children develop resilience.

If you have any questions, concerns or would like more information, please feel free to contact your child’s counselor.

Source:  Psychology Today & Kids’ Health


Warm Regards,

Mrs. Thomas 6th grade   &   Dr. Whalen 5th grade

           Hillside School Counselors


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