Share your own joy for your own successes. And, be sure to stimulate and share joy in each and every accomplishment that your child may have–no matter how large or how small.
If your child is performing in their first piano recital or if he/she is playing that first game of T-Ball or if he/she draws their first picture in school–find something good about their performance and talk about it. So what if they missed a few notes –or struck out–or went way outside of the lines. Stress the fact that they memorized two whole pages of music and performed exceptionally well–or that they sat comfortably at the piano with poise. Or, stress the fact that they caught two balls and threw a kid out at first. Or that the painting showed originality and that staying in the lines doesn’t allow for individuality, anyway. And, that you really love the colors that they chose for the painting.
Look for the good and stress that. Don’t stifle your child’s growth and development by placing unrealistic expectations on their performance. Don’t expect them to act like miniature adults. Help them to be all that they can be–right from the beginning. Stimulate the “becoming” by nurturing and reinforcing each and every tiny step. Encourage and reinforce–positive reinforcement is the vitamin therapy that leads to future growth. Encouragement and reinforcement cultivate the confidence in self that is necessary to overcome obstacles and to go to the next level.
Your child must believe in themselves in order to go out there and do all that they can do. Even though they need to know that you are confident in their capability–they must have an internal confidence. You can promote and develop that by role modeling and by encouraging.
Sharing “The Goods”
In addition to sharing–verbally and emotionally–the successes of your life, and in addition to encouraging and nurturing the successes your children experience, share in the material successes.
No matter how great or how small your financial successes, let your children know that the team–called your family–shares in those financial rewards. How would you share the financial aspect of your life? There are many ways. It doesn’t matter how. You have to determine what feels right to you and what works for your family.
We work together as a family to accomplish tasks. My children know that John and I work long, hard hours and that we have responsibilities to many people–clients and employees, as well as family. They see us willingly share the success of our business with our employees–our business team members. And, they see us willingly share the reward of our work with them.
We have been so open with Brett and Carrie about our work–its challenges and its successes that they feel a sense of co-ownership with that work. In order to feel and be successful, we must have their support to do all that we do. We have been clear with them about our goals and objectives. We have made sure that they are supportive of those goals and objectives. And they know that, we would never have let any business issue get in the way of our family.
I cannot tell you how many times we have sat together as a family and discussed new opportunities, problems, decisions. As a unit we have made decisions–decisions that would meet everyone’s needs. My children always have known that I would never put a business decision over them. They have been on my board of directors from day one.
Therefore, we joyfully share the financial benefits of our growing companies with these board members–in the form of educational funds, careful savings, travel, and comfortable living. They earned most of their own educational funding through academic scholarship and have worked with our companies since they were small children–learning and applying communication, computer, telephone, proofreading, writing, business organization, and customer service skills. Not only have we benefited from their work–but they have benefited from this experience.
No matter what field of endeavor they pursue, these business skills will be an asset. And, as a family we have benefited because–everything, everything–has truly been built upon the concept of a family “team”. What a joy it has been to build a company with the support, input, time and effort of the entire family.
What To Do
1. Talk about your successes. Don’t do this in a bragging manner–but rather in terms of how you feel. What has worked. What plans you have made and what strategies you have applied to bring that plan into a reality.
2. Accept compliments. Don’t be totally hard on yourself and reject any compliments that come your way. Accept pats on your back as reinforcement–not as “head swellers”.
3. Notice even the tiniest of accomplishments that your children reach and give them some positive reinforcement. Do this sincerely. When they do something, don’t pick on the things that didn’t get done–stress the things that did get done. Remember–always–that positive reinforcement will encourage repetition of a behavior.
4. Enroll your kids in the business of your family and share the rewards–including the financial rewards with them. Don’t think, “I worked for that money. They didn’t.” Yes, they did. By supporting you and by being a part of a family “team”, they earn reward as well. Know that it takes each and every member of the family to make it work. There are large tasks and small tasks–but there are no important tasks and non important tasks. It takes everyone and everything to make it work.