identity the collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known; the set of behavioural or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member of a group.
Whatever age your child is they are in the process of forming their identity. Working out who they are, what they stand for. Understanding how people perceive them, what their parents believe of them.
It is so easy as a parent regardless if they have special needs or not to see what your children are not doing. What they need to work on, what they are doing wrong. Rather than what they are doing right. Recently I have been thinking on how to build a positive identity and self image in my children. I come across something I read a while ago in a school newsletter all about the different types of intelligences or smarts. Howard Gardner introduced this concept in the 80's, I love how it can help form a positive self image. Howard explains this theory in this short video. This second video also shows how multiple intelligences work in the school system.
Dr Gardner describes the following intelligences:
" Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence -- well-developed verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words
Mathematical-Logical Intelligence -- ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns
Musical Intelligence -- ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch and timber
Visual-Spatial Intelligence -- capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualize accurately and abstractly
Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence -- ability to control one's body movements and to handle objects skillfully
Interpersonal Intelligence -- capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations and desires of others.
Intrapersonal Intelligence -- capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes
Naturalist Intelligence -- ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature
Existential Intelligence -- sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here."
Regardless of whether it relates to education or parenting, this issue is so important. As Dr Gardner mentions it is not a case of a child being smart, average or dumb. The question is have they had the opportunity to discover their intelligence and to be assessed or seen through this way. In education it is very important to allow children to learn in all types of different ways.
This relates to parenting also, if we are intelligent in a different area than our child if we don't take the time to work this out we can put undue pressure and pain on our child because they are different. In regards to our child's identity knowing what the intelligences our children hold, means that we can then in turn praise them for what they are good at.
In considering this and how I can contribute to my children forming a healthy self esteem and identity, these are the things I found that helps me:
- Focus on the good ( Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.) Talk about what is good about your child, partner and your own life. This may not change much but it will change how you feel.
- Know the season, don't fight it. Don't waste time fighting your situation, embrace it and even step back every now and again.
- De-schedule your life every now and again. Therapy for your children will not be effective if they are too fatigued to receive the benefits from it. Allow breaks for your child for old fashioned fun.
- Find out your child's strength and passions; use that to base your home therapy program. Get a great book like Out of Sync Child has fun that can point you in the right direction.
- Praise your child regularly
The kids can't have all the fun. So the challenge for you and me (don't worry) is to download one of the 100 ways to praise your child charts and then use it!
From speech therapy games
From the Department of Communities
See what else you can find and let me know how you adding some praise to your day. Don't forget to let the rest of your family in on the fun.