The Changing Behavior Network visited with Peggy Caruso, author of Revolutionize Your Child’s Life, regarding her ongoing work in teaching success principles to children and teens.
Peggy, you deal with many negatives in today’s society. Why would it be important to teach success principles to children and teens?
Discovering the true talents and abilities within our children will prepare them for this unpredictable world by teaching them how to adapt to any situation. Instilling entrepreneurial ideas helps them become successful adults. They need to learn how to manage their own strengths and weaknesses. Many children are afraid to fail because they feel as though they are letting the parents down. Failure is good – encourage it. It is just feedback letting you know how to modify your plan. It is stepping-stones to success. In teaching children entrepreneurial skills they learn effective ways to communicate. In today’s society technology has limited our children in verbal communication.
So, with communication being lost, what are some effective ways to help them communicate?
A very effective tool is placing them in a mastermind team. Masterminding is a group of 5-6 children who brainstorm to overcome obstacles. This assists them with problem solving techniques and holding one another accountable. It reinforces communication and interpersonal relations. Masterminding also enhances friendships and helps them balance the highs and lows. It assists with creativity and establishes motivation and persistence. It also teaches them how to set and reach goals, which is imperative in promoting entrepreneurism within children.
Masterminding sounds like a good idea, Peggy, but how would a parent go about setting up a group? What have you experienced that works best?
It’s relatively easy to set up a group. Begin by talking to other parents and explaining how it works. I am personally in several mastermind groups and they are extremely beneficial. It is important to keep it to one hour. You can meet weekly or bi-weekly; whatever works best for everyone. Let each child take a minute to tell their ‘positive experience’ of the week and then you move on to have each one present their challenge or obstacle. The remainder of the group then provides feedback and solutions to help. I also found choosing children from different schools is most beneficial. You don’t want to choose a group that is already mae up of close friends. Mix it up.
When you talk about motivation and persistence, does that help them eliminate procrastination?
One of the main reasons children procrastinate goes back to what I previously discussed – fear of failing. Failure is only failure when you don’t get back up. For every failure, the child accepts the fact that they will be okay. They keep moving, and that is what creates persistence and motivation. Persistent action comes from persistent vision. When you define your goal and your vision remains exact, you will be more consistent in your actions. That consistent action will produce consistent results.
Are there any other negatives that come from loss of communication?
Yes – cutting and depression. Some children and teens do not release their emotions; therefore, they internalize on them. When they are faced with obstacles and challenges, they take their emotions of anger and sadness out on their bodies. Children and teens who are bullied also tend to cut their bodies, especially if it is something that has impacted their self-esteem. Many teens have lost their coping mechanisms; therefore, when they experience peer pressure and difficulties in friendships, they are unaware of how to deal with their emotions. This is why implementing success principles is part of the answer.
Are folks surprised when you talk about promoting entrepreneurism with children?
Yes. At first they don’t understand why you would implement success principles to children. Many parents have asked why you would instill those skills in someone who has no desire to own a business. Well, it’s not just about owning a business, but learning corporate culture. From childhood your child will develop skills that will be transferred as an adult. Emotional skills such as self esteem, sociability, integrity and empathy, integrated with the educational skills of reading, writing, mathematics, speaking, creativity and decision making, will prepare them for adaptability within the corporate world. Many studies have supported the fact that the faster children develop skills, the better they do with testing.
Once you discover what their true talents and passions are, it is easy to get them started on building a business. There are many businesses suitable for children. Educating children and teens about employment or entrepreneurship has astounding affects. It teaches them time management, assists them in learning how to follow directions, and provides team and leadership skills. Studies show discouraged teens often grow up to become discouraged adults. This affects their confidence level.
You talk about teaching youngsters good corporate behavior. Wouldn’t mastermind groups help with that?
Absolutely. An important tie between the two is that masterminding assists them with goals. Teaching them how to set and reach goals is imperative in promoting entrepreneurism within children. It aids in creativity and establishes motivation and persistence. Teaching them to be persistent requires they be definite in their decisions, and that requires courage. Becoming a ‘kid-preneur’ will also help them learn their true talents, abilities and passions. They will develop solid friendships and learn to enhance gratitude.
So helping kids understand and apply success principles is pretty important, isn’t it?
It is very important. When we talk of success, most people think of adults. But if you begin applying the success principles when your children are young and impressionable, you teach them how to handle failure. Remember to teach your children the difference between the person who fails and the one who succeeds is the perception they have. It is seizing an opportunity and acting upon it, unlike the person who allows fear to dominate his abilities. ###