Some time ago I was delivering my DISCovering Me Program for Youth to a school, when I noticed there was one student not handing in his “HomePlay” assignments. Instead of asking him about it in front of the class, I spoke to him in private and asked what the reason was. He looked at me, and started to cry. I caught his gaze and said that his teacher had mentioned to me that he struggled with reading and writing. You see, the teacher had mentioned to me that she had spoken to his parents about having him assessed for having dyslexia. So I knew why he was having difficulty.
He looked at me and nodded his head, to indicate that yes he struggles with reading and writing. I acknowledged him for sharing that with me and said that perhaps we could come up with another way of him completing his assignments. A way that he felt he could achieve a good end result. I then said that in the future I invited him to come to me to share at any time anything he felt he couldn’t cope with (reading or writing), by asking for support and together we would come up with a way for him to complete those tasks that would empower him to succeed.
Well, you should have seen the look on his face. His tears had dried up and he was smiling. Instead of writing a lot of words for his assignments, we decided that a drawing would work and all he had to do was write three words on the page to describe what his drawing was about, that related to the topic of his assignment. And, I said I wasn’t attached to him spelling those words correctly as long as he gave it his best. His drawings were special to me. Throughout the rest of the program’s lessons his light shone brightly and he came out of his shell.
Take the time to let your kids know they’re SPECIAL
Children who believe they are special and important, even when they struggle in life, will strive and do their best to leave a good mark on the world. They will walk, talk and do things with energy and enthusiasm – excitement about life and openness to the wonders each day holds. Do you notice how some children are better at using a computer and others are better at having conversations with others? We all have our behavioral strengths and gifts, so treat each of your children as a unique human being. Don’t compare them to each other. Here a couple of tips to apply for showing your kiddo just how special they are:
Give them your time and attention, by actively listening to them when they’re talking to you. Stop what you’re doing and gently look them in the eye. Share their enthusiasm about what they are talking about with you, keeping it genuine. If you’re really too busy to listen, say so and let them know you’ll follow up on the conversation as soon as you can, so they can have all of your attention. And remember to do it – don’t make an agreement you can’t keep.
Be sincere when you praise. It’s about being open and genuine, and showing your child that your words and actions reflect a truthful heart. Let them know that you’re proud of them for making an effort, regardless of the outcome. You don’t have to praise them for everything they do. Just recognise the things they do that are out of the ordinary for their style – working hard to achieve a goal for example if you see them persevering, when normally they may have given up when the going got tough.
Here’s some ways to start a conversation with your kids so they know they are special to you (Source happyyouhappyfamily.com):
- “I love it when you share your ideas with me”.
- “You matter to me”.
- “I love you just the way you are”. Or as Bruno Mars says in one of his songs, “You are perfect, just the way you are”.
- “Anytime you need support, I’m here for you”.
- “I love to see the world through your eyes”.
- “I love spending time with you”.
Unleashing each of the Four Bird Style Strengths
For those of you that have read my previous Blogs you would have learnt about the DISC Four Behavioral Styles. I now have an assessment for kids that identifies these four styles as birds – Eagle, Parrot, Dove and Owl. You see, each bird style has different needs, emotions and fears. So, when you’re interacting with your kiddo, to tell them how special they are, you will need to adapt your approach and communication style. Here’s some tips on how to do that:
Eagles like to focus on getting things done and like to be in charge. They like adventure and will speak up. Tell them exactly how you feel and think, as they aren’t great at guessing other people’s feelings. Don’t be offended if your Eagle child stops listening or interrupts before you finish. Keep the conversation short and to the point.
Parrots like to focus on people. Give them time to share their stories and ideas. Don’t attack their ideas, and ask them questions. Also give them the freedom to speak how they’re feeling. And they like to have lots of friends.
Dove children are quiet and sensitive. Doves might hesitate to meet new people, try new things, or to let go of old habits. They dislike conflict and insensitivity, and are naturally kind and cooperative. Don’t criticize how your Dove’s friends feel.Try to understand them.
Owl children are full of thought and always listen for, “Does it make sense?” They don’t like disorganisation and being rushed. These kiddos look for accuracy and are the children that ask all those questions, that to some adults can be frustrating! Practice patience and give them time to think first before answering.
As your child continues to grow, celebrate their accomplishments in school, in sports, at home, and in other important areas in life. Let them know how you view their unique talents with affirming words. For example, saying, “You amaze me by how quickly you can solve those math problems” goes a long way in helping your child realize they have some special skill. Give your child the tools they need, through your validation, to inspire their uniqueness in life.