Father Knows Best???
By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT
Recently I was talking to one my male private counseling clients who is concerned about his pervasive negativity about most things in life. We were discussing the importance of him recognizing the positive in his children. Sincere and specific praise can help build their self-worth and even be a protection against negative peer group pressure. A strong, confident child is much more likely to say no to a trouble invitation than a passive child who is unsure of his worth.
As this discussion continued he said, “Oh, no….just yesterday when my son walked off the baseball field, I told him four things he needed to improve on during the coming week. I never acknowledged even one thing he did well!” I asked what his son did well and he had a long list including playing hard, scoring, and good sportsmanship. I told him that it’s never too late to give praise. He acknowledged that his son would hear those positive words as soon as he got home.
By the time I saw this man the next week, he had more to say on the subject. He said as he further thought about what he had done to his son after the game, he realized, with great embarrassment, that the reason he pushed his son so hard to learn more skills was that it made him,the father,look good. He said he thought others would look up to him for having such a talented son.
This was wonderful insight on the father’s part to acknowledge this. Could this apply to you,or any adult in your family? If so, please think about it and realize that kids’even big teens’are still children and desperately need our approval. So many adults walk into my counseling office feeling that they are not good enough,it usually started in childhood.
Copyright © 2013, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
P.S. Please see my other column SmileNotes.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.