This week’s blog post is brought to you by our favorite School Psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen.
Young children are resilient. They pull themselves up from scrapes and bumps. They recover after teasing and insults. They smile again after life’s emotional ups and downs. Children are concrete thinkers. Young children do not usually project the immediate problem onto future events and all the “what ifs” and drama that go with tomorrow and the day after. They tend to deal with events in the here and now.
Parents can support their child’s natural ability to start over, by encouraging them in the following ways:
- Adaptability. Children need to be socially responsive. They need to be flexible and develop the ability to adapt to change, “to go with the flow.” They should be able to take things in stride and not overact or get overwrought in response to a change in plans.
- Reflection. Children need to develop a higher tolerance for frustration. They need to know their emotional trigger points and understand what sets them off. They should avoid frustrating situations, consider alternative reactions, and minimize the outcome.
- Problem Solving. Children should learn to consider alternatives and make choices. They need to seek solutions and view problems as opportunities to be creative thinkers. They need to feel secure enough to avoid “finger pointing” or the need to blame others.
- Self Esteem. Children need to develop “self-love” and a “can do” attitude. They need opportunities for self-efficacy experiences to build self-confidence. They need to understand we all make mistakes and things often don’t go as expected. It is not the problem, but how we handle it, that validates us as worthy individuals.
- Optimism. Children need to have a positive worldview. They need to have a good feeling about themselves, others, and life in general. They should be future-directed. They should start each day with the expectation of success and live life accordingly.
- Warmth and Affection. Children should feel comfortable with a demonstration of affection to and from others. They should be able to give and receive hugs and kisses in socially appropriate situations. Physical touch should be a positive and loving gesture, an indication of caring.
- Responsibility. Children should be dependable. They should learn to follow up on tasks and promises. They need to know that others are counting on them. This validates their need to belong, to gain acceptance, and feel significant.
- Social Involvement. Children should be involved in their community. They should extend themselves through social activities and service clubs to friends, neighbors, and relatives. Their involvement needs to extend beyond their peers, to family support, and community activities.
- Learning Experiences. Children should enjoy learning. Formal education should be viewed as an opportunity for growth and enrichment. Casual learning takes place in day-to-day experiences which provide youngsters with practical knowledge of the world around them.
It has been said that the only certainty is change. We must be able to adapt for physical, mental, and emotional survival. Encourage your children to accept themselves and live in harmony with the world around them.
Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She presents seminars for parents and professionals in the field of child development and has published two books for children: “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends”. Oh yes, she has also raised six children!
Dr. Valerie Allen
Licensed School Psychologist ~ Rehabilitation Counselor
101 E. New Haven Ave Phone (321) 722-3430
Melbourne, FL 32901 FAX (321) 722-3431