February is Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month and National Parent Leadership Month.

special needs children - parenting for successChildren with special learning needs have experienced more failure and disappointment than other children.  Parenting children with special learning needs can be difficult, and calls forth from their parents an extra measure of care in “planting the seeds of greatness.”

Seeds of “greatness” grow into strong, confident children—skilled learners who make bold choices and expect the best for their lives.  They see setbacks as temporary and know they can find ways to surmount the obstacles that present themselves.

Children grown from greatness develop a “winner” mentality that supports them when life becomes challenging.  Children grown from these seeds problem-solve; they test out theories; they create wonderful new platforms from which to explore and conquer life; they carve out a strong personal identity.  They reject thoughts of failure.  They create.  They succeed.  These children lead.

But what happens if children do not have a strong sense of their own internal greatness?  These children harbor self-doubt.  They have come to expect defeat.  They prepare to lose.  They defend themselves from the pain of failure.  They make choices which are restricted to those options that are guaranteed to produce the least amount of pain.  They wither in the face of challenges, moving through life like ghosts of themselves, restricting their life to the least painful alternatives, rarely reaching beyond the safety of what they are sure they can do without failure.  They see challenges as yet another instance of humiliation, and they resist humiliation at all costs.

How can parents plant the seeds of greatness in their children?
A child learns to believe in his or her greatness through his or her interaction with parents.  There are many ways parents can “sow greatness” into their child’s life.  The following two strategies applied consistently will nurture your child’s desire to tackle life’s challenges with confidence.

Review your child’s successes with him (her) on a daily basis!
Never let your child doubt his capacity to ultimately prevail.  Resist the temptation to criticize.  If your child does not behave in a way that pleases you, remember that the cause of your child’s bad behavior is his feelings of disempowerment and insecurity.

Help your child to feel more secure!  Express faith and confidence in his ability to handle the challenges of life and to select appropriate behavior next time.  Guide him to believe that he can make the best choices for each situation.

Keep your child’s successes front and center in your mind and in your child’s mind!
Parent your child from an attitude of strong belief in his abilities and in his ultimate achievements.  If you feel any doubts, banish them.  Let go of any beliefs in your child’s limitations.  Cultivate your child’s mindset of greatness.

Daily affirmation for greatness:
My child has the power to make successful decisions and have a glorious life.  His talents are so strong that I have every reason to expect success.  I believe in him.  My child is brilliant and amazing; his life is evolving toward greatness.  I admire the way he meets challenges head on.  I can trust his judgment.

Children who have experienced failure have, unfortunately, begun to grow seeds of self-doubt.  Like a gardener pulling weeds that block the sun, parents can crusade against self-doubt and nurture the seeds of greatness!