Growing Up Empowered

Helping Kids Step into Their Best Selves

The plugged-in, stressed-out world that challenges adults can be even more difficult for teens in the throes of hormones, peer pressure and a selfie culture. Parents can help their children thrive and become empowered individuals by nurturing desirable character traits such as resourcefulness, resilience, perseverance, self-reliance, independence, empathy and social competence.

Child psychologist Michele Borba, Ed.D., of Palm Springs, California, is a former classroom teacher and the mother of three grown children who dispenses advice at MicheleBorba.com/blog.

Her main parenting focus is character education, as reflected in her latest book, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. “Tune in to what your kids love,” advises Borba. “Then find learning experiences that help them develop traits they need to be happy, productive adults.”

This positive parenting approach—accentuating youthful desires and strengths, instead of deficiencies and weaknesses—helps young people develop a secure footing in life. “Kids are driven by their hearts,” observes Borba. “A positive parent doesn’t do the cookie-cutter approach, as in, ‘That’s what worked for other kids in the neighborhood,’ nor even reference what the parent did as a teen.” Teens also impose upon themselves, thinking that being trendy, beautiful, rich and famous are valuable life goals. “The positive parent looks at each child as an individual, listens to what really makes them light up, and then supports that.”

Dreaming Big

Landmark Worldwide, active in 125 cities globally, is committed to the idea that people everywhere have the possibility of achieving success, fulfillment and greatness. Corporate leaders praise its programs for helping participants relate, communicate and perform well. Josselyne Herman-Saccio, a Landmark program leader in New York City, remarks, “Every one of us has a dream, yet too many of us choose our path with fear, disguised as practicality. Our kids might get the message that, ‘You don’t do your dream as your career.’” That thought can leave anyone feeling like something is missing.

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