By Warren Hayes, MD
1. Listen to your child
Turn off the TV, put down the mail. Stop looking at your phone. Make it clear you are interested in what your child is saying to you.
2. Praise and encourage communication
Thank your child for sharing thoughts and experiences with you. Be sure to praise your child for coming to you with questions, concerns or just letting you know what they are thinking about.
3. Teach self-respect
This is best taught by showing respect. Speak to your child with respect – even if upset or angry. Never give in the temptation to shout or demean your child.
4. Focus on the positive
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has successes as well. Praise the positive behavior and accomplishments. Don’t exaggerate, but let them know you notice positive behavior.
5. Instill confidence
Particularly for adolescents, express confidence in their ability. Skills are not usually mastered overnight. Notice and praise progress. Teens are practicing how to make decisions. Help them.
6. Enjoy your child's company
Tap into his or her humor, energy and creativity. You may rekindle your own youthful side. Your child will sense your approval and see the positive qualities you admire.
Self-esteem builds as your child grows. Beginning in infancy, a child's self-worth grows through childhood, preadolescence and the teen years by interacting with you and your spouse and their environment. Successful experiences build along the way.
Mr. Soares began training in the martial arts at the age of 13 and shortly after graduating High School he earned his Black Belt. Mr. Soares opened a small karate club in 1992. In 1999 he went to serve in the Massachusetts Army National Guard for ten years. During that time Mr. Soares was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina as a Flight Medic. While there, in addition to his duties, he also taught self-defense to soldiers in his unit as well as soldiers from other countries. In 2011 he opened Lance Soares’ Family Martial Arts Center in New Bedford and has since served as its director and chief instructor. Mr. Soares is currently an 5th Degree Black Belt in the Parker system of Kenpo Karate.