Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Wouldn't it be great if we all spent more time focusing on our success and our children’s successes on a daily basis?  In pondering this question I decided to look up the definition of success.  There are several definitions but the one I would like to focus on is: the accomplishment of one’s goals. 

Unfortunately, due to our culture’s bombardment by the media and advertisement telling us how/who we should be and what we should have, we often set the bar pretty high for what we define as success.  I know many young women who think they are fat if they are not a size 2 while many adults feel they are not successful if they do not drive an expensive car or live in a big house. 

I encourage you this summer to evaluate your definition of success as well as assist your child, if possible, in exploring their definition of success. Once you and your child have established a definition begin assisting your child in setting some small achievable goals for this summer.  Remember, the goals must be your child’s, not your expectations for them.  Once the goals are established, allow your child to take the lead in accomplishing the stated goals.  Your job will be to assist them in clarifying the goals and making them achievable as well as celebrating every micromovement toward the stated goals.

Goals don’t have to be grand or lofty.  Setting goals is often difficult for adults so it is very likely that your child might need some assistance by providing them with a list of things that make them happy or feel good.  I tell my young clients that I have only two goals for them. The goals are that the child is as happy as they can possibly be and that they are as successful as they can possibly be.  Happiness is the primary goal for I feel the rest will follow.

Assist your child in exploring what makes them happy and then assist them in creating goals for their summer from there.  Remember, these are not the goals you have for your child, but the goals they have for themselves.   I have created a list of “Things That Make Me Happy” that you may use with your child.  Have your child circle or highlight the items that create happiness for them.  Of course, your child may wish to add to the list.  The list is designed to assist you in discussing how your child can achieve these “happiness goals” this summer as well as create balance in their life.

Have a happy and successful summer with many celebrations!

Things That Make Me Happy 

·        Spending time with friends

·        Spending time with family

·        Making money

·        Being able to manage my behavior

·   When I am able to get along with my brother and/or sister

·        When I am not afraid

·        Playing with or working with animals

·        When I don’t get in trouble.

·        Reading and/ or listening to stories or books

·        Being more independent

·        When I don’t worry.

·        Creating stories

·        Creating art, objects, music

·        Doing kind things for others.

·        Going to the park, camping, looking at the stars

·        Pretend play or acting

·        Performing for family or community

·        Playing cards or board games

·        Sports- swimming, golf, water play, football, skating, riding bikes, skate boarding

·   Accomplishing a goal that is hard for me or that I didn’t think I could achieve.

·        Playing on the computer for a limited time

·        Teaching others how to use the computer

·        Taking pictures

·        Creating movies or videos

·        Watching TV and movies for a limited time period
Note to parents:

Once your child has identified what makes them happy, assist them in prioritizing what is most important to them.  It will also be important for you to help them in identifying the steps they will need to take to achieve their goals.  For example, if they want to have more time with friends and they have a difficult time with social skills, this is a wonderful opportunity to talk about the possibility of being in a social skills group and/or what it takes to be a good friend. Include these elements in the steps your child will need to take in reaching their goal.

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