It is no secret that encouragement is one of the biggest forces that drive our children to success. Think of a situation in your personal life when encouragement pushed you out of misery and onto the highway of success.

I can remember vividly, a young boy who suffered from anxiety, depression and poor self- esteem. He felt that everything and everyone was against him. When people are depressed they are difficult to live and work with because negativity takes precedence in their lives. Friends diminish in numbers, parents are frustrated and tired teachers are overwhelmed by the constant negative behaviours that affect everyone in the class. We all know what it is like to be around these people.

Luckily for this boy there were teachers, friends and family who rallied together to improve the situation. It wasn’t easy because once a course of negativity reigns for weeks it is difficult to turn the situation around. The team had to be trained in the different types of encouragement; kind and sweet strategies as well as tough love. Ground expectations were established, expectations that required a smile in the morning and afternoon as well as a retell of the happiest times throughout the day. Consequences were put in place for all who antagonised the said child and consequences for him if he hurt or offended others.  All teachers were informed of useful strategies for dealing with playground incidents. Slowly, but surely, this child has turned around. BUT it was tough going.

This turnaround took a lot of encouragement. Negotiating the balance between tough love and warm encouragement was a skill in its self. We couldn’t afford to give up; we had a child’s success as our goal.

The important thing about encouragement is to be consistent with the expectations. This means if the work isn’t completed or practised or whatever is being expected, the child requires tough love. It is only through experiencing the pain to achieve the gain that the child learns about the effort that is required to succeed. There is no reward without a focused effort.

I am forever excited after spending focused times with children who are unengaged or unmotivated. Success breeds excitement, engagement and motivation. BUT to reach the stage where this success drives these feelings and actions is not the easiest path, especially if success has been absent for a long period of time. BUT it is all worth the effort when you witness the excitement and the change in self -esteem as the child realises that he has made a choice and has been prepared to act to reach goals. This is the intrinsic reward for hard work.

Throughout the journey to success there will always be times when we, as parents, feel down and want to give up. This is the time to look back on the journey and encourage with love until the negative or overwhelming feelings are confronted. Goals are never achieved overnight. Big goals need to be  broken down into smaller goals achievable in a given time frame. The small achievements will be rewarding enough to continue along the road to success.

We can all be discouraged at times but when we support each other with like- minded people our individual problems are surmountable. I would love to be able to support you in the educational journey with your children. I have walked the path where isolation and overwhelming fear for my children was paramount in my mind. When my children were little, dealing with educational problems was a lonely, bumpy road. Today this is the road less travelled. With the rise in social media, our engagement has changed. We now have supportive friends that we have never met.  These friends are in online communities creating success and changing the world on a daily basis. Let’s begin this academic journey together to support all parents in creating success without sacrificing family, fun or health. I can’t wait to hear from you.Connect with me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Letterbox-Learn-to-Read/257419317604354
Ann Foster   
Ann Foster is a teacher with a unique talent to provide back to basics step by step programs/products and tutoring for students in Australia and overseas. Her programs and products help children, teachers and parents to achieve extraordinary results quickly. She has a track record of bringing into action programs that are easy to follow and that achieve results. Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average results to well above. Letter Box staff solve problems and puts wings onto dreams.