I received this question from a student who wanted to take a stand but was afraid if she did, she would no longer be fitting in.
Q: On my bus I sit with my friend who is very opinionated. There’s another girl on the bus that my friend really doesn’t like and makes rude comments to her. I feel bad about how my friend treats her. I often nod my head in agreement to my friend’s comments, not because I want to hurt the other girl, but because I want my friend to like me. I find myself trying to fit in with her. What should I do?
A: It’s so easy to get caught up with disrespectful and rude behaviour, especially when you are trying to ‘fit in’ and be liked.
When I look back on times in school that I didn’t speak up against disrespect I realize that:
I worried about what my friends would think of me if I said something.
I wanted to be liked and to fit in.
It seemed easier to go along with it.
Taking an action that you think may cause you to be left out, made fun of, disliked or be embarrassed by, is something we all try to avoid.
Here’s a question you to ask yourself: ‘Am I being true to myself by choosing not to say or do anything about my friend’s behaviour?’
I can always tell when I’m not being true to myself because I’ll hear a little nagging voice inside my head saying, ‘Why did you do that? Why didn’t you say something?’ causing me to feel guilt and regret for my actions.
#1 – End Result – to be someone who always tries to be liked by everyone no matter what.
#2 – End Result – to be a respectful person to myself and others and stay true to myself.
Picture two people in the same circumstance that you have shared with me. One person has End Result
#1 and the other has End Result #2. Do you think that they would make the same choice even though they are in the same circumstance? No, their choices would be very different!
#1’s choices would be to do whatever was needed to ‘fit in’ and be liked – even at the cost of hurting others and their own confidence.
#2’s choice would show that they are someone who is willing to take a stand for what’s right and what they believe even if it’s not the popular choice – even though it may feel scary.
#2’s confidence will grow while #1’s confidence will start to diminish.
Decide who you want to be – your character – your end result – then make choices from that place. If you are being kind, what choice would you make? If you are being brave, what choice would you make?
Write it out and put it somewhere you can see it. This will give you the focus, direction and confidence you will need so that you don’t change who you are in order to fit in. (video)
Until next time…
27 Jan 2020
Praise Effort Regardless of the Results
My husband coaches our son’s hockey team. His coaching philosophy is one I admire and wholeheartedly believe in. Here’s what he shared with the parents early in the season:
“We’ve been praising the full effort of the kids and are less concerned with who scores… not that we don’t acknowledge the goal, we praise how the goal came about.”
I love this concept and think this coaching technique can carry through to how we as parents and educators interact with kids on a daily basis.
Consider doing this: Praise their effort regardless of the results.
For example, your child
or student receives an A on their recent test. Do you say:
A. ‘Wow! You’re really smart!’ or…
B. ‘Look at what you have achieved. You chose to put in the effort and be determined. Excellent work!’
More and more studies show that choice B is more beneficial for kids. Using the theory of Carol Dweck, a psychology professor, choice B teaches our kids a growth mindset, while choice A encourages a fixed mindset.
With a growth mindset, people approach challenges knowing that they have the ability to learn and to improve every day if they put in the effort. With a fixed mindset, people believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talent, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that. Their goal becomes to look smart all the time. (Wikipedia)
I think there’s more to unwrap here…
How do you teach children a growth mindset and the value of effort?
Let’s use hockey as an example.
When players understand the importance of being open to learning they become confident enough to put in the effort to embrace new skills. They start to realize that, even though they may not have learned all the skills, it doesn’t mean they never will, it just means they haven’t learnt them YET! This mindset gets them ready to take on the challenges of training and development. And regardless of whether they win or lose, they learn to value the experiences.
This mindset will look like this:
‘I will put in the effort’. ‘I like to learn new skills’. ‘I am a problem solver’. ‘I can overcome challenge’.
Praising effort helps kids see the importance of the actions they took. If they know that being determined to go after the puck and staying focused on skating with a full stride helped them score a goal, they’ll know to stay focused on practicing those skills in order to score again. If we tell them, “You’re so talented! Great goal!” how will they know what they need to do to score again? How will they know which character traits they used to get there?
By attaching specific character traits to their efforts we show children that character based choices matter and what their effort and character looks like in action.
How do you shift your words to praise the effort in every day situations?
Here are some
Great job! (what made it a great job?) You were so determined to learn your spelling words!
You’re a good friend. (what makes them a good friend?) You showed generosity because you shared your snack.
Way to go! (what did they do?) You were kind. You held the door open for them.
The more we focus our praise on acknowledging the efforts and the character traits used to achieve the desired end result, we teach children that the journey matters—how they succeed is just as important as succeeding.
Exercise: Start to praise the effort instead of the results with your own kids or students. Pay attention to how you praise and pause in those moments…what character trait could you add?
Want to share how you’ve changed the praise dialogue for your family or school? Tag me on Instagram with an example of how you praised the effort to teach your child/student about a character-based choice they made. Let’s work together on this!