Dear Aidan Families,
I hope you all had a chance to see the fantastic performance of this year's musical, A Midsummer Night's Dream, a few weeks ago. Having watched many of the rehearsals, I was so proud of how beautifully the musical came together. I also felt an overwhelming feeling of pride and joy for the sixth year students, in their confidence, poise, and playfulness, as hundreds of eyes were hanging onto their every word.
In this month's newsletter, I want to highlight the feelings of pride. Often, I focus on more difficult or unpleasant feelings and how children deal with them, so now I want to give "pride" its own moment in the spotlight.
Ken Barish, a child psychologist and professor at Cornell University, encourages parents to appreciate their child's emotions so they can further understand their development. In his book Pride and Joy: A Guide to Understanding Your Child's Emotions and Solving Family Problems, Dr. Barish defines pride "as our emotional response to acceptance and success." He explains that children want their parents to share in their pride and to be proud of them. Further, he comments; "Our children's feeling - their inner certainty - that we are proud of them is an essential good feeling, an anchor that sustains them in moments of discouragement, aloneness, and defeat. Our feeling that our parents are proud of us is a motivating and sustaining force throughout our lives, and a protective factor in the emotional lives of our children."
As parents and educators, it's important to let our children know that we are proud of them, for their efforts and for their accomplishments, when appropriate. It is easy to fall into the trap of overpraising. However, sharing, acknowledging, and expressing pride with your child when they know they have committed a great deal of focus, effort, and often courage to something important to them, is a very special and memorable feeling.