Friday, May 29, 2009

May09_SkinnedKneeAfter picnic kick-off I am returning to the Principles of Happy Parenting. The second principle for raising an optimistic child is teaching our children to accept both success and failure. Quoting from Raising an Optimistic Child: "Success means that your child can accept doing a particular task poorly and not believe that her efforts will always turn out badly. More than that, she can fail and still keep her sense of self, be a worthwhile person.... How you "frame" or - put into context - the outcome of a particular event for your child will largely determine her reaction and teach her how to interpret such situations in the future. Praising her for trying and for how she did something rather than for outcome will help her maintain her confidence and perseverance... All too often, adults become mesmerized by end goals and lose the ability to enjoy the process. Yet most of our life is spent in process - studying for a degree, exercising to get or stay in shape, traveling toward the destination. Young children have the gift of focusing intently on the present without worrying about the outcome. Model this approach by organizing your life as much as possible around what you enjoy doing rather than what you feel you "should" do or what you believe will lead to a certain goal. Life's journey is almost all process, and most triumphs and disasters are but punctuation along the way."

Thinking of the last few sentences of the paragraph above, I don't think I agree with that even though I am in agreement on keeping successes and failures in perspective. In my mind goal setting and learning that you actually have to work hard and to things that are not always pleasant to achieve those goals are still important part of becoming an adult. I will try to teach my daughter to set goals and to work towards them, but not to despair if she is met with failure. Not so easy, because she inherited her father's perfectionist tendencies and really hates to fail. She'd rather not try.


Annette said...

I also disagree. There are some things that must be focused on despite lack of success. Like Meghan's speech. We must keep at it! When her only sound was mmm we focused on that and eventually were able to add vowel sounds. Please do share our site with your friend with the apraxic child. I love learning from others.