Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Helping our children to have ambition

               It is important for children to have ambitions, and for us to support and ground them!

Children should have aspirations. Many of them do, especially the younger ones who dream of being a Princess or a superhero someday. As they get older, however, these ambitions can easily get quashed by adults telling them they need to be more realistic or that their ambitions are "silly".

I read recently a report from 2012, which suggests that big career plans in children may hint to great emotional strength and resilience. They found that children from poorer homes had the biggest aspirations, perhaps reflecting their hopes for the future. You can read the whole article here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19586824

Another interesting idea comes from Charles M. Schwab, a successful business leader in the early 1900s, who said that “The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticism from superiors.”  As parents and child care professionals, do we adults often end up quashing a child's ambitions, often without quite realising it? How many times do we tell a child "Stop" , "Don't" or "quit"? According to Schwarb, years of hearing this can lead to a child who has a lack of ambition and therefore we should be using phrases such as "Why don't you try it like this", and encourage children to learn new experiences and feel praised and encouraged. (http://familyshare.com/how-to-keep-ambition-alive-in-your-children)

It is us adults whom children look towards when it comes to their own ambitions. If they are surrounded by adults who do not show much ambition themselves and who are forever making them feel that their dreams and aspirations do not mean anything, they can find themselves following the same path in many ways. I try to show my daughter that if you want something and work hard, you can be ambitious and make it work for you. It is really something to make you think.....are we really helping our children to become ambitious and start thinking big?!

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