Children and adolescents want to know they matter and are part of something bigger than themselves that matters. They thrive on attention and affirmation. The feeling, “I matter” drives the play and interaction of children and adolescents with friends, and can become a rhythm they want to feel within the family. Success with friends and family members allows children and adolescents to know they have value that goes deeper than their performance. This value and self-worth is essential for the child or adolescent to invest effort within and beyond the home, especially when they see no material profit in doing so. As every parent knows, effective performance does not happen automatically. What happens automatically is the daily rush and all manner of words and behaviors that involve conflict and tension between parents and children. Consistent effort by the parent to provide children and adolescents creative, affirming attention is essential to assisting them to try.
At Braveability, parents learn creative approaches to providing the child or adolescent different attention. Most children and adolescents show, at least occasionally, they care about things related to the family or, in some other way, attempt to be effective. This is all a parent needs to begin helping the young person feel the rhythm of mattering to the family and a desire to speak and act accordingly.