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One of the simplest, yet most important, principles of parenting and educating is that children tend to give us more of those traits to which we devote attention. Everyone wants to be loved, appreciated, and seen. If we reward the positive traits of our children, we are more likely to see more of those. If we are so busy, distracted, or irritated by negative behaviors such that we only pay attention to correct, discipline, or criticize a child, then they may actually give us more of those negative behaviors.
We are often too busy to pay adequate attention to the totality of a child's behavior. But with respect to the long-term well-being of a child, including their academic and professional success, we need to take the time to focus on seeing and appreciating them. Did they do something kind? Did you love the way they expressed something? Did they make a new initiative? Notice it!
We are all embedded in our own interior experience of events. But as parents and educators who care about teens, we need to empathize with their experience of the world. While we still need to set firm boundaries, the more we love and appreciate them through seeing the manner in which their will is pursuing goodness and beauty, the more that side of them will grow. This kind of loving attention can be like rain leading to a blossoming desert of brightly colored flowers.
Do you want to raise a healthy, happy teen in today's exceptionally challenging environment? Train yourself to focus on and appreciate every act of goodness they engage in, and teach them to surround themselves with others who see and appreciate them.