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Be a Strength-Based Gladiator for Your Kids

Moms, be a strength-based gladiator for your kids

This is a story of the most important people in the world. Your kid’s parents. 

Your little one, whether playing with a cardboard box or a $100,00 toy, see you, his parents, as his heroes.  You are his mentor, teacher, coach, protector, and most of all gladiator.  At play, your kids can do anything and if they fall they know there are people  — their parents — who will take care of them in every way.  

And how do you know this?  The answer is simple,  You used to be a kid and you looked to your parents the same way that your kids looked to you.  The wonder of life, repeats itself, and its energy is the love, care, and concern you provide each day.

While in many ways parenting is both natural and a learned process, how we view our kids as they grow is the key to their success.  It’s simple:  Do we emphasize their talents over their weaknesses or do we emphasize their weaknesses over their talents?

As your kids prepare to enter school, it’s up to you — their parents — to make sure your kids are valued, appreciated, and supported for the talents and strengths they possess. Be their strength-based gladiator!  Below are some great resources to be your kids’ gladiator.

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Parents know their kids best

You know your kids best: what they do right, their strengths, what interests them, and when they get excited; you’re the expert on your kids.  You know when they’re happy, frustrated, and most of all, learning.  As their parents, you have nothing but hope and promise.  Below are some great resources that support your parental instincts and new information and parenting ideas. 

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When you kids turn 5 everything changes

But when they turn 5 years old everything changes!  Learning is no longer the same and between ages 5 and 18 years, learning is turned upside down.  For the most part, the public schools ignore your kid’s talents and strengths, their interests, and certainly their hopes and dreams. 

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Be a participant in your kid’s education

When your kid starts school it does not mean your importance and value should be reduced. In fact, just the opposite.  As your kid’s parent, you are the only one that really knows the talents and strengths of your kid.  You should not be a spectator but a real, formal participant in the education of your kid.  Continue reading

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The good news is that things are changing 

Parents are taking back their kid’s school.  More and more parents are realizing their kid’s education, no matter what grade or subject, should be practical and skilled-based and take into consideration their kid’s interests, learning styles, and most of all talents and strengths.  The bottom line is that parents are becoming Strength-Based Gladiators for their kids.

Being a Strength-Based Parent Gladiator means being an advocate for your kid’s strengths. It means asking questions and taking charge of your kid’s education.   But to do this you must know the type of school your kid attends. 

Your role as an advocate starts with knowing how your kids are viewed by the school and teachers.  Does your kid’s public school emphasize a rigid curriculum over student talents?   Are your kid’s interests considered or ignored? 

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What is your kid’s teacher’s mindset?

How would you describe your kid’s teacher?  A glass-half-empty or glass-half-full person.  The answer to this question may tell you a lot more than you think.

But one thing is for sure.  The success of your kid depends more on their teacher’s mindset — their values and beliefs about learning, the purpose of the schools, and their responsibilities as educators.  

Let’s explain.

There are two types of mindsets:  Fixed and Growth.

In a fixed mindset, learning is categorized and regimented by subject and grade level.  Within the fixed mindset, school is a highly rigid placed where standards and a well-defined curriculum drive the learning process.  Learning outcomes are predetermined so that student talents and interests play a minor role.

The fixed mindset also supports the bell-shaped curve which tells us that some kids are really successful, some kids will fail, and most kids are in the middle.  Not a pretty picture and certainly does not reflect the hopes and dreams of all parents.

In a growth mindset, a kid’s natural talents can be developed and strengthened by way of commitment and hard work.  In a growth mindset, teachers believe the learning process should be flexible and aligned with the talents, interests, and needs of kids.  Teachers believe kids can be successful through dedication and hard work, where natural talents are the starting point. The growth mindset creates a love of learning, where kids are not afraid of challenges and mistakes are part of the learning process. Continue reading

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Change your school’s culture

Take charge of your kid’s school.  You have the right to influence the type of school your kid attends.  Is it a school that welcomes the talents of kids or is it a school that only cares about tests, standards, and a set curriculum.  You can be a Strength-Based Parent Gladiator for your kid and become a powerful force for change when you join together with other committed parents.  Continue reading

The questions below will help you determine the direction you need to take, possible steps to follow, and how to gain public support. Remember, as a taxpayer, you have the right to a public school that values your kids as much as you do. 

Before you begin asking questions determine if you want to do this by yourself or with another parent.  You also need to decide if you want to interview your kid’s teacher and school principal.  Or, you may want to spend a few days in your kid’s classroom observing.  In addition, talking with other parents may provide you some great information.  Regardless of the approach you take, the seven questions below will help you gather the necessary information to determine how your kids are being viewed by your kid’s teachers and school.

Strength-Based Parent Gladiator Questions – Let’s get started.

Directions: Based on your interviews, discussion, and observations, select the numbered response you believe best represents what is taking place in your kid’s classroom.

1. In my kid’s classroom students are encouraged to take risks and welcome challenges.

1 – Strongly Disagree     2 – Disagree     3 – Agree     4 – Strongly Agree

2. In my kid’s classroom students are continually receiving feedback regarding how well they are doing in school.

1 – Strongly Disagree     2 – Disagree     3 – Agree     4 – Strongly Agree

3. Teachers believe cultivating student talents leads to opportunities for success.

1 – Strongly Disagree     2 – Disagree     3 – Agree     4 – Strongly Agree

4. In my kid’s classroom students are told working hard leads to success.  

1 – Strongly Disagree     2 – Disagree     3 – Agree     4 – Strongly Agree

5. In my kid’s classroom students are inspired to see other kids succeeding. 

1 – Strongly Disagree     2 – Disagree     3 – Agree     4 – Strongly Agree

6) In my kid’s classroom students have a regular opportunity to

talk about their talents.

1 – Strongly Disagree     2 – Disagree     3 – Agree     4 – Strongly Agree

7) In my kid’s classroom student talents play a central role in the

learning process.

1 – Strongly Disagree     2 – Disagree     3 – Agree     4 – Strongly Agree

Scoring and Next Steps

Your score will range from 7 to 28 with 28 being the highest growth mindset score.  Meet with other parents to discuss what can be done to create more of a growth mindset in your kid’s school and classroom.  Decide on your next steps.  Develop short and long term objectives to stay the course.  

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