Tammy Jabobs, L.C.S.W., shares how parents can successfully encourage their children to excel and 'ignite their greatness'.
Tammy Jacobs, L.C.S.W.:
Let’s talk about, how do you ignite the greatness in your children? It is in every single one of our children, even when they’re breaking their rules, and as a parent sometimes we get stuck in seeing what is going wrong in that moment, but even when something is going wrong in that moment your kid, your teenager could be screaming at the top of their lungs, they could be throwing things, cursing at you; there is still greatness in that moment and to be able to find that greatness, that is our responsibility as a parent.
It’s actually a very simple way to do that. One thing that you need to do is in that moment you need to decide, “This is my child; this is somebody that belongs in my heart and this is what I need to do, it’s my responsibility to raise that child, to feel their own greatness so then they can stand in their greatness in everything they do, from forward here on out in their life it’s attached to their greatness and they build that inner wealth up inside and no matter what environment they are in, nothing can break them down or conquer them. They just go higher and higher and higher in their levels of greatness.”
One person that really brought me to understand this, not only from the many teens and children that I work with, including my own children, is a great man called, named Howard Glasser and he is a creator of an approach called The Nurtured Heart Approach and even with this question of “How do we ignite the greatness in our children?” he originally had written a book with the title “Transforming the Difficult Child”.
However, how does that look when you open up the book and then your child walks through living room, “Hmm, what’s my parent reading?” And they see “Transforming the Difficult Child”. What? Me? I’m not the problem. It’s my parents that’s the problem!”
So over the years he then realized that he would get this feedback from people so then he rewrote the book with an amazing title “All Children Flourishing: Igniting the Greatness of Our Children”, and through his work I have been able to help many parents and myself as a parent to figure out, how do I disconnect from feeling that I need to teach and guide through nagging and reminding and just always being on my child, or the parents with the children that I work with, but instead take all of your energy and all of your time and focus in what is great in the child in this moment, even when they’ve been screaming so loud that they’ve got snot coming out their nose and the curse words are just flying, in that moment, what’s the greatness? There’s always something there.
The way that you ignite this greatness in your child is you need to help build your child’s inner wealth. The first step that I usually teach parents to do to train themselves, because we often get stuck in the mode of seeing everything that’s going wrong in this moment, but what I teach parents to do is just look and say to your child what you see in that moment. “I see you sitting on the couch. I see you’re playing videogames. I see that you are scoring points and look, you just moved to the next level.” You provide them that irrefutable evidence that they can own because they themselves can see what that is going well in that moment.
Once you are able to provide this irrefutable evidence over and over in time then once they are able to accept that then you can attach what that means about them. For example, if I use the same scenario; “There you are sitting on the couch. You’re playing videogames. You are scoring more points. You’re moving to the higher level. You’re not yelling at your brother because he wants his turn. You’re not cursing me out because I’m asking to come to dinner. This really shows that you have a lot of self-control, a lot of respect for your brother, you are being very responsible with the videogame,” and so slowly over time after you provide that irrefutable evidence and you attach to what it means about them as an individual, they then get to believe that.
If you start out with just telling a child ‘good job, good job, good job’ it’s almost like emotional junk food because they don’t believe necessarily that they are good. So when you provide this irrefutable evidence it helps them slowly start to believe, “Well, maybe I am good,” but you don’t have to attach good to it. They have this evidence and then when you later attach your, “You have self-control, you are responsible, you are respectful,” they make that connection in the two.
About Tammy Jacobs, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.:
Tammy Jacobs is a licensed clinical social worker and child and family therapist in Mesa, Arizona. She specializes in parenting, specifically working with difficult children and teens. Tammy's number one approach is The Nutured Heart Approach developed by Howard Glasser.