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Reflections on Parenting – Cultivating Emotional Intelligence, Growth Mindset, Grit

As our children grow and move closer to college years, careers and independent living, we as parents engage in self-scrutiny of every potential parenting pitfall we might have fallen into. Have we been teaching our children all the necessary skills to be happy and successful? Has he or she become mature enough to deal with conflicts and adversities? What can we do to help our children develop the grit and 'growth mindset' that will allow them to grow, welcome challenges and work towards continued success? How do we instill a sense of confidence and self-worth to help them handle stress and negative influences?

These days, the widespread use of and instant access to social media, the internet, and telecommunications makes it challenging to cultivate some of the qualities mentioned above. Filtered information ready for digestion and utilization is readily available but this takes away the opportunity to explore, question and establish a dialogue with others to work together and achieve common goals.

Many parents, employers and educators believe the instant gratification and influences of the virtual world lead to deficient interpersonal communication skills for children and young adults. Young people also have difficulties focusing and engaging in face-to-face interactions.

Various neuroscience research studies have begun to examine how technological communications alter our brains. The research, led by Sarah H. Konrath of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and published in Personality and Social Psychology Review, found that college students’ empathy has declined enormously since 1980, due to social isolation, the type and form of information being consumed, and resultant emotional responses. Psychologists, teachers and writers have asserted that because of over-reliance on telecommunications, we are becoming a society with the acquired characteristics of cultural autism and narrowed senses, and we no longer value face-to-face interactions. (Yehuda Baruch, Information and Management, Volume 38, No.3)

We recently interviewed parents of high school-aged children and asked them what types of skills the parents would offer to their children as a gift to make their life, study and career a smoother and more positive experience. Here are their responses:

  • Confidence. Every other great quality, including intelligence, will not propel an individual as much as confidence

  • Improved ability to communicate with peers, professors and superiors

  • Innate understanding that there are no successes without failures

  • Time management, prioritizing goals, self-discipline and persistence

  • How to negotiate effectively and take constructive criticism without losing their sense of self-worth

  • Handling stress and time management

  • Following through, responsibility and independence

  • Effective leadership and interpersonal skills, as well as presentation and communication skills

So the question becomes: What tools should be employed to help children develop these qualities?

In an effort to address this question, we have invited Dina Ostrovsky, an educator, process-oriented psychologist and transformational coach to bring her Youth Empowerment Programs to our school. Dina’s programs go beyond the realm of formal education and enable kids to create their own personalized toolkit of skills and qualities of character to prepare them for long term life success. To view programs, scholarships, free presentations and discounts, please Click Here

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