Those of you who are attending the amazing schools and programs that use POWerful Words and/or you are one of our POWerful Family members, you know that February is Self Discipline month. What POWerful Words indeed! As we are helping our children to focus on themselves for the first quarter of 2008 (health, self discipline, and self reliance), as parents, we need to step back a bit and encourage them from the sidelines to take initiative and individuate.
In this month’s Dear Dr. Robyn column, you saw that one of the tips was to “Teach them to give it an extra push” when working on a goal. Many people (not just children) only push themselves about 80% of the way before quitting. This breeds mediocrity. It’s not about what the child can do in comparison to others but rather what that child can do in comparison to himself if he gives it his all.
When we teach our children to give an extra push, this is where excellence is born. Imagine the child who studies for a full hour before their math test rather than 45 minutes. It might seem like a small difference but it could be the difference between mediocrity and his personal best. That extra push, in this case, doesn’t need to be anything more than an extra 15 minutes of study time. Or, think of the child who who practices a skill one or two more times than s/he had planned and finally gets it– what a reward! The child learns that a little extra push– expecting just a little bit more from him or herself– can lead to feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment– and the achievement of his or her personal best.
We know that this extra push takes self discipline. While self discipline can’t be enforced by you (that’s just discipline, plain and simple), we can encourage it. This month, be sure to highlight the internal (pride, satisfaction, joy) and external (good grades, leadership positions, stickers, compliments) rewards that your child is receiving when s/he gives that extra push. Helping him make the connection between the good feelings he gets, the positive feedback he receives, and the effort he puts in, will surely make him want to discipline himself more in all areas of his life.
Here’s to a great month-
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