Manual Authentic Success

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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Robert Holden, Ph.D., is the director of The Happiness Authentic Success - Kindle edition by Robert Holden. Download it.
Table of contents

At its best, it encourages academic success for a small group of students but gives short shrift to the known factors that are necessary for success later in life. It makes the false assumption that high academic success early in life is a harbinger of competence in many spheres, including interpersonal relations and sense of self.

Sometimes this is the case; often it is not. Perhaps of even greater concern, because it involves far more kids, is the fact that our limited definition of success fails to acknowledge those students whose potential contributions are not easily measurable. If we insist on a narrow and metric-based definition of success then we maddeningly consign potentially valuable contributors to our society to an undervalued and even bleak future.

This version of success knows that every child is a work in progress. It recognizes that children must have the time and energy to become truly engaged in learning, explore and develop their interests, beef up their coping skills, and craft a sense of self that feels real, enthusiastic, and capable.

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Authentic success certainly can include traditional measures of success such as grades and top-tier schools, but it broadens the concept to include those things that we intuitively know are critical components of a satisfying life. While we all hope our children will do well in school, we hope with even greater fervor that they will do well in life. Our job is to help them to know and appreciate themselves deeply; to approach the world with zest; to find work that is exciting and satisfying, friends and spouses who are loving and loyal; and to hold a deep belief that they have something meaningful to contribute to.

You will often come across the words well-being in this book as one of the hoped-for outcomes for our children. The precursor to authentic success is the growth of a sense of self that feels robust and genuine. Rather, it is in development.

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The bigger and more accurate picture is this: A strong sense of self develops through a process that includes a combination of genetics; the influence of family, peers, and mentors; the opportunities presented; and the culture we live in. It certainly is informed by the way you support the particular strengths and interests of your child, but. Authentic success is being. We would do well to start thinking about success not in terms of today, the next grading period, or the next year, but in terms of what we hope for our children ten or twenty years down the line, when they leave our homes and walk into their own lives.

Yes, it requires both courage and imagination to parent with this long view, but it is also the most effective way to ensure that our children have satisfying, meaningful lives. Thankfully I no longer encounter much skepticism: the toll of a narrow version of success has become painfully obvious to most parents.

What parents are clamoring for now are solutions. Teach Your Children Well is my answer. We must shift our focus from the excesses of hyper parenting, our preoccupation with a narrow and shortsighted vision of success that has debilitated many of our children, and an unhealthy reliance on them to provide status and meaning in our own lives, and return to the essentials of parenting in order for children to grow into their most healthy and genuine selves.

I will not shy away from providing concrete answers for concerned or confused parents when research is clear that children are most likely to benefit from one course of action over another. Parents are often willing to make changes faster than the institutions around them.

The pace of institutional change can be positively glacial compared with the vigor of a parent who feels his or her child is in jeopardy. No matter where I speak in the country, the worried questions tumble out in predictable sequence.


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What should I do? He works hard on his schoolwork but spends a lot of time puttering around in the garage. Depending on where you are in your own child-rearing cycle, some of these questions may seem foolish, others quite pressing and important. But even though there are always exceptions, it is easy to answer questions like these based on what we know from the scientific research. In other words:. Three years later there is no difference in reading skills between those who learned in kindergarten and those who learned a year or even two later.

Your child will feel bad only if you or the school turns normal development into pathology. Kudos to your son for knowing his own mind. These two men had very different relationships to their gifts. Certainly parents can force their children to cultivate a talent and rightfully insist that they have perspective their children lack. On occasion this works out, particularly if your child has a genuine talent.

If she is, then she needs a lighter load and some help. If not, then talk to the teachers and school administrators about bringing homework time into line with known benefits. Get your community involved in a discussion about healthy amounts of homework. We are all average at many things. With almost 4, colleges in the United States, college placement is about making a good match, not about winning a prize. Your son will feel like a loser only if you treat him like one.

Ask for another counselor. Although this book will provide these sorts of concrete answers, its goals are far more ambitious. Teach Your Children Well aims to help you identify and strengthen the basic strategies that are known to promote effective parenting. This will make it easier for you to stay on target as you guide your children through the different stages of development and help them strengthen the coping skills that they will need to move successfully from one level to the next.

Think of child development as a scaffold.

Madeline Levine: Parenting for Authentic Success

A scaffold needs a sturdy base in order to support its higher rungs. It is important that we respect this progression as our children climb rung by rung, and not push them to the top prematurely or without adequate support. Good parenting skills make this climb safer, more satisfying, and ultimately more successful for our kids. Additionally, by carefully examining the capacities and the challenges of children at different ages, Teach Your Children Well will give you the tools to differentiate between minor and expectable transgressions and more concerning problems.

A normally diligent child who forgets a homework assignment is not the same as a child who makes a habit out of it. Teach Your Children Well will help you figure out when to hold back and when to intervene, when to compromise and when to stick to your guns so that you are a more confident parent.

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The other major goal of this book is to help you clarify and prioritize your values and your definition of success so that there is greater alignment between what you believe is important and what is emphasized in your home and communicated to your children. Nowhere is the issue of values more alive for parents today than in our conflict over how hard we push our children to be academically successful, since we also recognize that their healthy development takes more than high grades.

Do we value spirituality but find ourselves measuring success by material possessions? Would we allow our child to compromise his integrity, say by cheating on an important test, if it helped him gain admittance to a prestigious school? By applying the information, the relevant research, and a series of paper and pencil exercises in this book, you will be able to construct a personal definition of success that is in line with your family values, and with the skills, capacities, and interests of your particular child.

Of course, no book, no matter how comprehensive, can possibly address more than a fraction of the dilemmas that are part of the everyday experience of parenting.

But what Teach Your Children Well will do is help you construct and formalize a set of principles, grounded in research but unique to your particular family, that you can use as a compass to guide you through the inevitable thicket of parenting choices and challenges. This book will ask a lot of you—it will ask you not only to recognize problems, but also to work diligently to change their causes. This is. You will need to dig down deep and examine your own motivations, ambitions, and distortions. This is not easy work, but if you are willing to be both reflective and honest, I promise that not only will your child benefit, but you and your family will as well.

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How does this culture affect kids and families? What are the realities and the myths embedded in this lifestyle? Who stands to benefit and who stands to lose from a narrow view of success? Should this view be modified, and if so, why has this been so difficult to do?


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Understanding that children and teens have multiple tasks—growing up, figuring out their particular interests and talents, making friends, managing risk, and so on—can help us have a healthier perspective on academic achievement and a broader perspective on success. The more coping skills children have at their disposal, the more likely they are to successfully meet the challenges of growing up and finding their own definition of success. While some coping skills are more inborn and others are clearly an outgrowth.

Specifics on how to do this effectively and what gets in the way are presented at the end of each coping skill section. In order to optimize the chances of making real change, this section also focuses on helping you evaluate your own history and explore how unresolved issues in your past may be contributing to current parenting issues or your reluctance to make the kinds of changes you would like to implement.

Teach Your Children Well refuses to accept the false dichotomy that in order to be successful children have to be physically run into the ground and emotionally disengaged from themselves, their families, and their studies. Both are inside jobs. Obtaining authentic success requires an ongoing honest assessment of your current state of affairs.

And, let's face it, too many of us aren't willing to do that. Past definitions of success have been quite rigid and as a result, we're still chasing empty prospects. From the outside, our productivity and fruits of that productivity masquerade as accomplishment. Far too often, this occurs at the expense of well-being. Authentic success demands otherwise and makes well-being the cornerstone.