There are often moments when children manage to get you out of your mind. You tell yourself that they are good children, but they may have their moments of “weakness,” in which there are angry, unmotivated, disrespectful or pretentious. And it`s true! They sometimes have their moments when they want too much and offer too little, or when they enter in defensive and use bad words.
As parents, we think that something is “wrong” with our children and we look for solutions to “fix” them. We think that this way we make them better and we increase their chances of surviving in a difficult world. In fact, the problem is we spend too much time trying to “model” them in a manner that we consider to be correct, and we lose the values and qualities that the child already has from sight.
The good news is that we are able to correct the desire of changing something to them or what we should change. In fact, these are the “lenses” through which we see our children, so that we see their behavior in a positive manner.
Would you like the school to prepare your child for life? For instance, it would be nice for schools to teach him to have a positive attitude or how to make him happy? Such initiatives start to appear in schools with the purpose of preventing disorders and mental issues among children and teenagers, implementing the principles of “positive education.”
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What Is Positive Education?
Positive education is based on the positive psychological principles, which deals with the study of virtues and qualities that help people evolve in a positive manner, develop and lead a happy lifestyle. Because these qualities have been formed since childhood, the concept of positive education has appeared in the attempt of combining the role of the school to transmit knowledge to the little ones with the one of forming life skills.
In Australia, there`s a school (Geelong Grammar School) in which the principles of positive education are put into practice each and every day.
Among the activities recommended by positive education are the identification and development of strengths, encouraging gratitude in relationships with other people and visualization of the best “me” possible. – See also this!
Also, the most appreciated 16th character traits worldwide were identified; among them there are: honesty, loyalty, perseverance, creativity, kindness, wisdom, courage and fairness. Children are taught to identify which of these traits characterize them to a greater extent and are encouraged to apply them consciously in everyday life.
How to Teach your Child the Principles of Positive Education?
- Teach him to accept failures and look them as learning experiences. Analyze together with him thoughts, behaviors, situations in which he failed and identify together different ways through which next time failures will be avoided.
- Teach him what gratitude means and help him manifest it as frequently as possible.
You can help him say “Thank you!” to a colleague who gave him the lessons for the day he missed school or you can make together a list with the things for which you are both grateful and the people you owe them gratitude. Find various ways to express your gratitude to those people.
- Find out what “went well today!” This step has proved to be effective in increasing the level of self-esteem. You can do this with your child every day for a longer period of time (2 – 3 weeks) and then you can see if this will have an effect on your mood.
It`s rather simple: at the end of the day, both of you write 3 good things that happened on that day. You can both use your own notebook to remind yourself each time you feel sad that there are good things in life as well. A way of performing this step is to ask your child every evening what went well that day. You can talk about banal stuff, starting from the fact that someone allowed you to sit in his place in the public transportation, the fact that you were just promoted at your job today, the fact that maybe the child received a good grade today at school or the girl that he likes smiled at him. All these are positive things, and the fact that you`ll find a way to remember them will help you feel peaceful with yourself.
- Teach him some of the existent values and help him develop them. For this to happen, explain to him the normal values, teach him about courage, honesty, correctitude and forgiveness.
- Talk to your child about the 3 concepts underlying happiness (from the point of view of positive psychology):
- Possible emotions are characteristic to situations in which, for instance, you are doing a pleasant activity, relax yourself or you are in the company of pleasant people.
- Flow experience appears when you are immersed in an activity that you like and you find it easy to do. Dancers, musicians, painters or writers describe this experience as one in which time seems to stay still, their concentration is focused completely on what they are doing, and the world around them “disappear.” People who have such experiences frequently are happier. Therefore, it`s best to encourage your child to realize activities for which he has a passion. – Learn more!
- Meaning of life. While the positive emotions and flow experience can be lived with personal preoccupations, the meaning of life involves dedicating and using personal qualities to help achieve a higher purpose (helping other people, social, knowledge, etc). Finding the meaning of life help people avoid the feeling of despair or futility, and motivate them to develop personal qualities.
Read more on Educational & Fun Activities for Small Children
Dogmas that Form the Basis of Positive Education
Let`s take a look on some general dogmas that should be at the basis of a good education of a child:
- To learn what is forgiveness, the little ones need to feel the effects of forgiveness.
- If a child receives everything, immediately as he wants that thing, he won`t be able to learn that every pleasure needs to be earned in life.
- If every person around him displays a perfect allure, a child won`t be able to learn that perfection doesn`t exist and, thus, he won`t be able to accept his faults.
- When everything happens as he pleases, the child won`t learn what is cooperation or concession.
- When a child is confined to freedom, he won`t be able to let his creativity free.
- Pain and sadness are normal, and through them we learn to feel respect and compassion for others. – Find out more!
- Confronting difficulty is what makes us stronger and develop our courage, and also our duty as a parent to not try to let our child try the situations that are even more difficult.
- When everything is easy, “on a plate” as it`s said, the child won`t be able to develop strength and perseverance.
- Mistakes help us correct ourselves and, that`s why, they are part of our nature and our own mental development.
- The moment when we overcome a weight, reached a goal or passed a difficulty is the time when we learn that we are capable and that we need to respect ourselves.
- The experience of exclusion is the one that teach us that we need to be independent.
- The occasion in which we need to resist an authority, it`s the moment when we realize that we can lead ourselves.