Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Praising Hard Work

There's plenty of research now showing that praising your child's hard work instead of their being "smart" sets them up for future success.
I did not follow this advice with Josh (10y). Instead I doted on him throughout his younger years, telling him how smart, special, talented, etc I thought he was. This has set us both up for a lot of frustration. He has trouble handling situations in which he struggles and feels like a failure if he doesn't achieve perfection on his first try at something.
Which leads to one of my worse parenting moments, or perhaps on of my better ones.
Josh was struggling with piano drills. He shut down, threw things, yelled, and told me to leave. I refused. He didn't need to be alone with those emotions. I needed to help him find a healthier way to express himself. But after so much yelling AT me, I snapped as well. I said some harsh things, things that negated all the doting I'd done for years.
It was a sobering moment for us both.
We came up with a mantra- "I will work hard and figure this out." He said it, yelled it, and tackled his piano drills. Practice ended on a positive note. wink emoticon
Later at bedtime we were doing our Best, Worst, and Looking Forward To (where we reflect on our day), and I told Josh my worst was yelling at him. His response was, "That's okay, I needed to hear it."

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