, Salem, MA


September 27, 2013

Six parenting tips to promote heroism in your child today


Persistence despite challenge

Heroes do not view adversity in their lives as a negative event. Heroes create a silver lining and reframe the event to be something they can benefit from such as, “I lost my job, and now I have more time with my family to rethink my priorities.” When a child says, “I’m giving up; this is too hard,” parent antidotes are: “Look how far you’ve come or see all you’ve accomplished,” with specific achievements named. Other examples of parent support include briefly engaging in a difficult task with the child to get him over the hurdle. Daily and highly specific affirmations (not “You did a great a job”; instead, “The way you washed each dish thoroughly reminded me of how difficult it is to clean the plates”) highlight a child’s successes and are building blocks for a strong foundation for lifelong persistence.

Perspective taking

Heroes have an ability to take another’s viewpoint and to use it to guide their own actions. For example, heroes alter their behavior to make someone else feel more comfortable. Parents can promote this by praising these behaviors using very specific language. For example, “Your thoughtful comments like [give an example] made her feel better. I’m not sure I could have been as sensitive to her feelings.”

Live right

Heroes have an inner sense of right and wrong. They make personal sacrifices to protect their moral value system. When a child sacrifices because it’s the right thing to do, ask them to articulate their thought process: “I noticed you helped your little brother put his coat on, rather than run ahead with your friend. What were you thinking?” or, “I saw that you didn’t contribute when your friends were giving that kid a hard time; tell me why?” When kids state how and why they live “right,” they begin to see the power of their thoughts and behavior.

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