The Sweet Smell of Success Starts at Home, part 4 by Vicki Davis

Parenting is a tough job and we all want our children to be successful in school. But are we willing to admit that the success our kids have in school starts at home? The first post in this series gave an overview of just how much influence you do have, the second post gave the first three points in starting student success at home, and the last post gave items 4-6. Let’s continue.

10 Tips for Starting Student Success at Home (7-8)
7 – Give honest, sincere praise.
Praise for the sake of praise itself makes you a liar. Not everything is praiseworthy because not everything is good.

Work hard to find the good things that your child does, notice it and share it. Work hard to speak well of all of your children in a way that is honest, true, and reflects well upon them as a person.

Know your child’s limits. Your child isn’t good at everything. No one is. We have way too many people who think they are good at everything and  think they don’t have to work for it and consequently are good for nothing and no one wants to work with them. Go back and look at #1 where you’re trying to help your child find his/her strengths. Some things are going to be tough for your child to do and that is OK because that is life.

I also work hard to be careful to not make my child think that my love is conditional upon his/her success. Unconditional love is important to me and to my child. I might dislike something my child did but that doesn’t mean I love him/her less.

Sometimes you can’t get a word in edgewise because your children are so angry that they don’t hear your words. That is when you can go buy their favorite thing at the store, put it in the fridge with their name on it and the words

“I love you.”

I did this with my teenage son a few years back when he and I in a room were like gasoline and a match. I’d put the stickers on the things (usually food) I knew he loved and would write his name.

To [insert name] I love you. Mom

At first those notes would be crumpled up and put in the trash (but he ate the food.) Then, I’d find them on the counters. Then, I found a few in his room.  Beef jerkey, strawberry milk, even a few big macs and several banana splits all had this note on them. (Before you criticize me for using food in this way, my son grew from 5’8” to 6’6” in just 2 ½ years time. My youngest has trouble with weight so I typically buy him a movie on Amazon or other non food items. Select appropriately.)

There are ways to communicate love. Sometimes it isn’t for what they DO but who they are. Your child is YOUR child. A flesh and bone part of YOU. It is your job as a parent to LOVE your child as a human first.

8 – I will criticize the action NOT the child as a person.
Children make mistakes. I make mistakes. My love for my child is not conditioned upon their behavior and yet if I love my child, I will discipline him/her. I need to send my children into the world with as many things that will cause them to self-inflict pain buffed down and acknowledged. Things like tardiness, disrespect, laziness, unethical behavior, self-centeredness and the like.

I know that the things I repeat over and over will come back into their minds long after I’m gone. Things like

“I’d rather have an honest C than a cheatin’ A”  -or- “I may not be smarter but I can work harder.”

or from my husband “only speak the truth.”

Or our favorite Churchillian quote “Never, never, never quit.”
It is my responsibility as a parent not to send my child into the world without working on areas that will make it hard for my children in the world. If I can’t make a difference in these areas, my child will have some very hard, unpleasant lessons to learn.

More on this in the next post where we cover the last two items on this list.

Remember, Moms matter. (and Dads too too!)

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