What makes your child tick?

by Ashley Goodale

On October 20, The Washington Post published an interesting Opinion piece by Phyllis Fagell, entitled Not just high schoolers anymore: my middle school students are feeling the pressure to succeed.   The author, a middle school counselor in Bethesda, Md. observes that,

"as a community, we are not making it easy for kids to take the risks that lead to self-discovery. The stress level among my 13 and 14-year-old students approximates what I saw several years ago when I counseled high school seniors. There is a sense that they need to follow a prescribed path, to perform well in every discipline. Parents and students fear that even middle school choices might have an impact on college admissions. As a result, when students earn a low grade or don’t like their math placement or get cut from a team, they can become unmoored."

Ms. Fagell encourages parents to,

"give students permission to be brave explorers. We can emphasize that the highs and lows are both useful because they reveal what makes them tick — what sparks their intellectual curiosity and brings them joy. At the dinner table, we can ask them about their favorite (and most detested) subjects. We can gently inquire whether they actually like playing travel soccer four days a week. Maybe they have been thinking they might like to try cooking or painting.”

Finally, Ms. Fagell argues that in order to lower our children’s stress levels, we need to “honor what makes them unique and help them develop self-awareness.”  

Here at trovvit, we think fostering your child’s passions is key to their future happiness.  We can honor what makes them unique by keeping track of what is engaging our children – uploading a picture of their drawing of a ball gown, a trip to the local Science museum, a certificate from a coding class.  We can help them develop self awareness by showing them what is collected in their trovvit account, and encouraging them to add to it.  And what trovvit can do is help create a visual history of “what makes them tick - what sparks their intellectual curiosity and brings them joy.”