Love, Play, Reflect; Passion, Gratitude, and Grit: Parenting for Success and Happiness across the Lifespan

Love, play, reflect; passion, gratitude, and grit; a blog by Dona Matthews

Childhood giftedness is a great start, but it doesn’t predict happiness, success, or fulfillment across the life span. What does the research say about parents’ roles in helping their kids become happily productive adults?

1.       Love:

The single most important ingredient in the early days, weeks, and months of life is the security of a home environment characterized by loving warmth. Infants who develop an early attachment to a caregiver—usually a mother—do a lot better over the life span than those who don’t.  Parenting characteristics of a secure and loving environment include emotional attunement, reassurance and comfort, holding and snuggling, and listening and responding to children’s needs.

Kids do best whose early home experience includes warmth, acceptance, sensitivity, stimulation, and engaged conversation. That means limiting electronic (and other) distractions when you’re spending time with your kids. Device-focused parents don’t look their kids in the eye as often, hear what they have to say, pick up on their feelings, or transmit that sparkle in the eye that makes children (and adults) feel valued. Read more

How Parents Can Help Kids Build Their Intelligence

How Parents Can Help Their Kids Build Their Intelligence

Children don’t start off smart. They become that way over time, with the right kinds of supports and learning opportunities at the right times in their lives. Here are four ways parents can actively participate in their child building a foundation for his or her intelligence:

1.      Appreciate your child’s unique profile of abilities:

  • Recognize that children’s abilities vary by domain—math, music, language, social, etc.—and that each child has a unique profile of intelligences. A child who’s highly capable in one area may have learning challenges in another area.
  • Pay attention to your child’s changing abilities, goals, attitudes, and interests.
  • Use different kinds of information sources, including school grades, and your own and others’ observations of your child’s interests, concerns, persistence, and motivation.
  • By appreciating individual developmental differences, you increase your child’s engagement in learning and intrinsic motivation, which leads to better learning outcomes, greater self-efficacy, and stronger likelihood of happy productivity across her life span.

Read more

Boredom and Frustration Help Kids Learn

child buildingKids do better when they have to work hard, and get to experience working through challenges on their own, or with minimal help. Boredom and frustration (in balance!) can be good.

In this article, entitled ‘Raising Successful Children,’ Madeline Levine makes the point that parents should not do for kids what kids can do (or almost do) for themselves.  She also makes the point that it’s important to kids’ eventual well-being and success in all that matters (careers, relationships, health, etc.) that their parents are living lives that they (the parents) find interesting: ‘One of the most important things we do for our children is to present them with a version of adult life that is appealing and worth striving for.’

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/raising-successful-children.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=general&src=me

Are Some Kids Born Smart? Or Do They Become Smart?

Are some kids born smart? Or do they become smart? Is there anything parents and teachers can do to help kids become more intelligent or use their intelligence more productively?

Carol Dweck’s work on mindsets is part of a transformation in progress concerning how people understand giftedness, and how gifted education is delivered. In this article published in the Growth Mindset Blog, we think about some of the myths that are being challenged by recent findings on mindsets and intelligence.

Reassurance, Coping Skills, Action, and Resilience: How to Handle Tragedy with Kids

mother comforting son

All children have worries. But worries can intensify when they hear alarming radio and television broadcasts, and adults talking or—worse—whispering about random shootings, floods, evacuations, and other frightening events. Children can find it difficult to put their own apprehension into words, get past a sense of isolation, or calm the feeling that the world is out of control—especially if adults exclude them from conversations about what matters. Read more

From Peril to Promise: 10 Ways to Help Vulnerable Kids Become Resilient

  worriedChildren worry. And some worry more than others. Worrying isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in fact recent research shows that the most susceptible and vulnerable babies—when they have nurturing parents and safe, dependable early environments—can become the most successful people of all.* What can parents do to help their kids thrive? In this blog, we review our top 10 suggestions for parents who want to translate their children’s worries into lifelong resilience. Read more

Intelligence and Bullying

rsz_boy_with_arms_crossedAnyone who’s different than others is more likely than other kids to feel isolated. This is especially true in the early adolescent years of 11 to 14, when fitting in is more important than at any other time in a person’s life.

Being smart is enough to trigger rejection, envy, or aggression by classmates, although it doesn’t always bring the knowledge or wisdom to deal well with social problems like these. Rejection can take the form of bullying, whether with gestures, words (Nerd! Brainiac! Geek!), physical violence, or cyber-attacks, all of which can be hurtful or even traumatic. Read more

Beyond Intelligence

hands joining in the centre

Intelligence matters. At the same time, however, achievement, success, happiness, and fulfillment in life are built on a lot of different factors that go beyond intelligence, at least as intelligence is conventionally defined. Some children are academically advanced, and others make friends easily. Some kids are inclined to athletics, and some excel at music. Some are great at mathematical analysis, and others have well-developed ‘street smarts.’ Read more

gifted/LD

The Challenge of Giftedness/LD: Frustration, Creativity, and Resilience

gifted/LDThe most frustrated kids I know fit the giftedness/LD profile. They have exceptionally advanced abilities in some areas (aka, ‘giftedness’) and problems in other areas (aka, ‘learning disabled,’ or ‘LD’).

It can take a long time before parents and teachers figure out the giftedness/LD situation, if they ever do. By then, too often, the child hates school, and is deeply unhappy. Her self-esteem is non-existent, she’s having trouble making friends, she feels like nothing’s good in her life. She’s on track for leaving school as quickly as she can, and she may or may not find career fulfilment. Read more

boredom busters

Boredom Busters: How to Handle Your Child’s Boredom

boredom bustersA bored child is usually ripe for self-discovery, someone waiting to find where her interests and enthusiasms might lie. In this posting to Parents Space, I describe 100 good responses to a child’s saying, ‘I’m bored!’ (Sometimes, however, boredom can be a mask for serious problems—sadness, loneliness, fear, anger, insecurity, or other troubling concerns. I discuss that situation elsewhere.) For 100 great boredom busters: http://www.parents-space.com/100-great-boredom-busters-what-to-do-when-your-child-says-im-bored/