Thursday, 11 January 2018

The importance of feeling proud

All of us, no matter our age, like to feel good about ourselves and that we have degree of control over our lives. This includes our attitude to how we see ourselves as learners and our ability to achieve or accomplish the tasks we set out to do- our self efficacy. A strong sense of internal control helps us respond in an appropriate way to negative events. This also relates to our ability to be resilient.

We want our children to have a positive self efficacy around their attitude to their learning, to feel that they can learn and can achieve their dreams and goals. One way of doing this is to ensure that they have something,  even just one thing that they can do well and are proud of. I mean, that they can do genuinely well.

Something that they have worked hard at, have practiced, honed and can deliver on. Not something we tell them they are good at, just to make them feel good (although encouragement has its own role to play!) This is important because it is all too easy to count up the things that we may not be good at, which may result in us feeling bad about ourselves.

I once heard that one thing that we are good at, our 'proud thing', called a compensation factor. The idea was that this one thing (there may be more, of course!) is our compensation for when we come across something we know that we are not good at. The internal dialogue would go something along the lines of : "well I know I am not good at X, but that's ok, because I am good at Y".

In my own family, I have a sister who excelled at sports when we were children. I did not. Where she won, I lost, time after time, year after year. However, I had a love of art and was good at it, winning competitions and pursuing it to a tertiary  level. Art was my compensation factor.

I have to say that I would have preferred to win a race rather than lose it, but I knew there was something else that I was good at and that losing a race was not the sum of me- it was just a small part.

I would encourage you to seek out and find your child's compensation factor if you don't already know it. It may not be something you want them to be good at or can coerce, it will be something that they love to do and are passionate about.  Art remains a love and passion of mine and as I have grown older I have added lots of other compensation factors to my life...although I would still lose every race I competed in!