NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Bringing Out the Best in Your Kids by Challenging Growth

Bringing Out the Best in Your Kids by Challenging GrowthTo “challenge growth” is one of the five keys Search Institute has identified for strengthening family relationships. Kids might not say it in so many words, but they actually do want and need to be challenged.  If they did put it into words it might sound like, “Push me to keep getting better.”

We all need others to expect more from us—and stretch us to get there—and then help us learn when we encounter frustrations, setbacks, or failures.  Search Institute reminds us that most people look back on times they’ve been challenged to grow as being some of their best experiences. 

How we challenge each other to grow is also important. Some ways we push each other can backfire, making us want to do less, not more.  The big idea is to challenge kids to what will be somewhat difficult, but definitely do-able, with practice or effort. 

Here are some ways moms, dads, and other parenting adults can challenge their kids:

  • Expect your children to do their best, even when doing something they don’t really like.
  • Teach your children that making mistakes is a part of learning.
  • Highlight future goals. Talk with your kids about the things they look forward to or dream about.
  • Ask hard questions, provide alternate explanations, and encourage openness to different opinions. These actions help them expand their own thinking.
  • Notice your kids when they work hard, and make positive comments about their efforts, whether they succeed or not.

A video explanation of what it means to challenge growth is available online from Search Institute at https://keepconnected.searchinstitute.org/strengthen-your-family-relationships/challenge-growth/

Search Institute is one of my favorite sources for accurate, reliable, science-based information because they are dedicated to bridging research and practice to help young people be and become their best selves. 

Please contact me if you’d like to explore ways to strengthen the relationship you have with your child or children.

Source:  Search Institute, “Keep Connected – Bringing Out the Best in Your Family.”

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/mountain-climbers-rocks-climb-2078086/ (downloaded 8/11/20)

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