Dr Jozelle Miller
May 22, 2018
Recognizing potential in your child

I just simply love the lyrics of the very famous song by Whitney Houston in which she said.

“I believe that children are the future, teach them well and watch them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside.

” It is extremely important that each parent encourage their child to fulfill their God given purpose and recognize their potential.

What is a supportive parent?

Being a supportive parent means having your child’s best interests at heart but also being present, involved and helpful; it includes:

  • Actively encouraging them to do their best with school, their hobbies and interests
  • Listening without judgment and seeking to understand their concerns and challenges
  • Acknowledging their achievements and supporting them through mistakes and challenges
  • Setting consistent expectations and consequences to help them to feel secure and able to predict outcomes
  • Treating them fairly and developing a trusting relationship.

The basics of supportive parenting

Your aim is to keep your child safe and to give them the foundations they need to do their best. At a minimum they need:

  • To know they are loved for who they are, and that you are always there to support them.
  • An environment where basic needs such as a safe and healthy place to live, healthy food, and school supplies are made a priority.
  • Protection and support to keep themselves safe from mental and physical abuse
  • Respect for their feelings and concerns
  • Acknowledgement of their milestones and achievements such as birthdays or first day at school.
  • Respect for their friends, clothing, sports and music choices, and interests etc.

Parents play an important role in supporting the development of motivation in young children. Children feel safe and free to explore when they have warm and trusting relationships with significant adults in their lives.

Recognizing children’s efforts rather than their achievements supports the development of children’s self-motivation.What motivates children changes as they get older; arranging developmentally appropriate experiences for children gives them many opportunities to experience success and mastery through their effort which will help to keep them motivated.

Experiences should be pitched at the right level, not too hard, but not too easy either.

Activities need to be challenging enough to maintain children’s attention and require persistent effort to achieve success. Children may become bored if things are too easy. However, if things are too challenging, children can become disheartened and begin to give up. They may not be motivated to try if they don’t think they can do it.

Scaffolding supports learning and motivation

Scaffolding is a term used to describe the process by which parents support children’s learning and motivation.

Like scaffolding used at a building site, parents act as a scaffold to support children’s learning by coming up with possible solutions to a problem together.

When this relationship is warm and trusting it provides children with a safe space to work on an activity or figure out how to solve a problem.

Parents can support problem solving by using prompt questions that allow children to find solutions to a problem.As children become more confident in their problem solving, parents can gradually step back and reduce their level of participation.

For example, a preschooler who is becoming frustrated trying to learn how to tie shoelaces can be supported by an adult.

A parent might choose to sit behind a child to see the shoes from the child’s view and provide encouraging statements when a child loops a shoelace the right way.

An adult might also prompt the child to think of solutions, for example, ‘It looks like the left lace is shorter than the right one.

Where should the right lace go so they are the same length?’Children remain more engaged in activities when parents help them along to reaching a goal.