At a recent conference I overheard “If you show your child you love them too much they will become conceited.” Too many providers and parents believe this, even though research tells us different. Of course I don’t want my children to grow up thinking they “rule the roof,” but I do hope my children have positive self-esteem. I do want them to have confidence in who they are becoming, and that starts with me showing them how much I love who they are today.
When shown that others didn’t believe they could become more than their label defined – they regressed. Even if providers weren’t talking to them directly they heard the message that “he’ll never talk” or “he’ll never ride a two wheeler…” When others didn’t believe in them, they stopped believing in themselves. They lived up to the predictions of kids who didn’t talk and had sensory melt downs. I’m not saying they don’t own their labels anymore. We still are working on behaviors and at times need accommodations. Even in our own home one will take shelter in his room from company (even if it’s from grandparents). Sometimes on outings one might have to take a break and leave the activity (not because they don’t want to be there, but because it’s overwhelming). Still, compared to a couple years ago they have transformed.
I was hesitant to take them out of the classroom setting, but I’m glad we tried homeschooling, as they have passed provider predictions of where they would be today. We still need to work on certain skills, but even social skills have grown stronger outside of the classroom. As we work on skills we learn about our strengths and struggles. Learning about our talents and needs help us define who we are, and it helps us understand others. Kids “on the spectrum” have a difficult time understanding others, but they want to. They want to understand and build relationships, but too often misconceptions of their label stop parents and providers from continuing to work on such skills.
Sometimes to work on such skills you need to go all the way back to the basics. This month Mother Goose Time’s theme is “Friends and Feelings,” which helps you do just that and is perfect for multi age programs. The boys help me run a one-room school house style program for 1-12 year old students, called Adventure Academy. This week Adventure Academy is focusing on me and my friends. (Highlighted areas are links)
We are going back to the basics of who I am, what is unique about me, how am I the same or different from my friends, how can I be a good friend, how can I tell what my friend is feeling … how am I feeling? These are great lessons for all ages to re visit. When you re visit who you are and how you are feeling it helps you understand others. It helps you be a better friend to others and to yourself. It helps you respect others and yourself.
Respect has been the word of the week. We’ve reinforced the lessons of respect through activities such as creating people-puppets that represent ourselves and our friends near and across the globe.
We enjoyed activities showing us how to interact with others in our community and world-wide. We played games that led to discussion of befriending and respecting those different from us – even those in the animal kingdom! We talked about what the world would look like if we all worked together to solve problems, if we used our strengths to help others and asked for help when we were struggling.
We talked about the puzzle pieces to being a good friend and decided the answer was to respect everyone, including oneself, because you can’t be a good friend and care for others if you don’t care for yourself. You can’t help others reach their goals and dreams, if you’re not going after your own. No matter their goals and dreams I hope my boys (and the children I work with) grow in ways that are respectful and responsible.
Teaching children to be respectful of others and responsible for themselves will help them become resilient people who are able to withstand peer pressure and recover from difficult situations. Helping children become resilient teaches them to believe in themselves and believe they are worth the effort. The effort from themselves to try hard to become whatever they dream of! They are worth the effort of parents and providers believing in their dreams and showing them they love them too much!
If you’re looking for a program where your child will feel loved and encouraged to follow their dreams email Christi@MiFamilies.com! (There’s more about me and my background on LinkedIN.) If your looking to network with other parents and providers so you feel encouraged and loved join our facebook group! We all need love and support, encouragement and inspiration – so find our community pages on Twitter, Pinterest, You Tube … Let us know where else you are and we’ll try and join you there. Even parents and providers need to make new friends! We wanna be friends … we wanna know what resources you need and how you are feeling ~ Enjoy our resourceful feelings video below:
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