Studies show that the #1 factor in creating resiliency in children is that they have at least one “charismatic adult” somewhere in their life. This is so important! Kids need to have an adult in their corner! They need to have someone that they encounter in their life that gives them the message that they have value, they need to have someone in their life who believes in them, and communicates that to them.
Inspired into action…
What does it mean to be a “charismatic adult”?
According to Wikipedia, charisma is a rare personality trait usually encompassing leadership abilities, eloquence, charm, and persuasiveness.
But being a charismatic adult in the eyes of a child is actually very simple! Think back to when you were a kid. Probably everyone reading this has at least one adult they remember from their childhood that they know made a difference to them. What qualities did that person possess? What did that person say to you? Do with you? Teach you? How did they treat you? How did they make you feel? Believe it or not, many kids don’t have a single person in their lives that make them feel like that! But, YOU could be that person!
The interesting thing about the studies is that they found out that virtually any adult the child may encounter in their daily dealings can be that one charismatic adult! In other words, the charimatic adult in the child’s life may not even be someone that spends a lot of time with them. The studies showed that sometimes, even one chance encounter with the right adult could mean the difference for the child! What this means for us, as adults, is that we can potentially have a dramatic impact in the life of a child, even in what may seem to be the most casual or insignificant encounter with them! That also means that it is important for us, as adults, to keep a few things in mind, as we go about our day to day lives.
You may not ever even realize when a chance encounter with a child has a potential to change that child’s life forever, but if you treat all the children you encounter with respect and keep in mind the tips below, I can guarantee that at least one encounter you have with a child WILL change that child’s life for the better, and forever!
Charismatic Adults Know:
- Kids are smart and there are multiple intelligences
- As a society, we NEED diversity and differences
- Normalcy is a myth
- Behavior is communication; behavior is a language
- Laziness is a myth
- Nobody can predict capacity
- Basic needs have to be addressed before all else
- To feel they belong
- To feel autonomous
- To feel competent
- Are empathic
- Avoid labeling
- Help kids to reframe deficits as gifts
- Help kids create an asset-based identity
- Give kids the message “you’re not broken!”
- Remove anger and use benign indifference
- Treat children with respect and don’t condescend
- Meet kids where they are/at their level
- SEE the value in the child
- When things aren’t working, ask yourself “What can I do differently?”
- Get feedback, ask and really listen
What YOU can do to Empower a Child:
- Be a witness to the child’s gifts and talents!
- Create an environment for kids that doesn’t hurt!
- Refocus and redefine what success is!
- Know that EVERY child needs to feel special and valued!
- Advocate and teach advocacy! Speak up for them and teach them to speak up for themselves!
- Recognize resiliency and value diversity!
- Respect, Encourage, Love, Care!
- Value and validate – recognize, verbalize, show you know it!