Psychology -
Cognitive and Behaviorist Studies


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      As children we frequently had imaginary friends and real life heroes based on movies, TV, and our parents.  We role played the parts of cowboys, indians, astronauts, Doctors, nurses, fire fighters, police, sports stars, actors, actresses, president, soldiers, sailors, fighter pilots, celebrities, etc.

      Many different factors play a role in how we make major decisions that affect our life and career choice. Sometimes we actually grew up and became to be like one of our heroes.  Sometimes our heroes had super human powers - like flying, X-Ray vision, and strength. Western movies had cowboys and lawmen whose guns never seemed to require reloading and the bad guys couldn't hit the broad side of a barn,  It was easy to tell the good guys from the evil law breakers because the bad guys always wore black hats, the good guys wore white hats.

      All of the Saturday afternoon movie action shorts ended with cliff hangers story lines to motivate you to come back the next Saturday to see how the next episode would resolve the dangerous situation the hero was left in. In western feature length movies, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry (the singing cowboys) sang songs, fought the bad guys, and after winning, they rode off into the sunset at the end of each movie.

      Some time in our life, we eventually confront the reality that there can be a considerable difference between our perceptions of ourselves and how others view us. However, it is possible to accomplish a partial to a total behavioral makeover of our image by undertaking to:
  • Understand our strengths and weakness,
  • Develop a strategy and detailed plan to accomplish specific objectives,
  • Prioritize the time and energy necessary to achieve our goals.
Self-Esteem - Don't Force a Square Peg into a Round Hole!
       Self-esteem is the composite of our beliefs or feelings that we use to construct an image of ourselves, These "self-perceptions" are representative of how we define ourselves based on environmental influences that serve as our motivations, attitudes, and behaviors that are reflected in our display of emotions.

      The essences of self-esteem starts very early in life. As a child learning to walk, parents provide encouragement that serves as the motivation to try, fall down, try again, fall again, and until success is finally achieved. This pattern provides a blueprint for attempting and learning other skills, in addition to establishing an image of their capability for success. The interactions with other kids and adults is a key for helping children to form accurate, healthy self-perceptions.

       A child who is happy with their achievement experience low self-esteem if they do not feel loved. Conversely, a child who feels loved, but is hesitant about their abilities can feel good about themselves if sufficient positive affirmation is provided for their efforts. Healthy self-esteem is a result of obtaining the right balance of effort and achieving success with understanding when the task may not be the right "fit" for the child's abilities/talents.

Changes Provokes Stress and Anxieties
       Situations that cause many children to "freak out". The following is a short list of frequent situations that trigger uncertainty in many families:
  • Changing from one grade level to another
  • Changing schools
  • Moving to a new town, city, state, country
  • Being bullied, teased, or excluded from peer groups
  • Disruption of normal family life -
    • Divorce,
    • Illness or accident
    • Death
    • Financial problems - job loss
    • Civil or criminal prosecution
Self-Esteem
       A healthy self-esteem can provide a form of "bullet proof vest" as a defense against the challenges of the world. Children and adults who feel good about themselves tend to be better equipped to handle conflicts and negative pressures.  Someone who is grounded in what is real and generally optimistic has an attitude to confront most situations and achieve a resolution that allows them to get on with their life.

       Individuals with low self-esteem develop major anxieties and are extremely frustrated when confronted with even minor challenges. Because they think poorly of themselves, they have a hard time being positive about finding solutions to problems. It is common for them to express self-critical thoughts like "I'm no good" or "I can't do anything right." Some individuals use passivity as a means of handling unpleasant situations.  Faced with a series of challenges, their immediate response is "I can't" and become withdrawn, or depressed.

      Positive self-confidence/self-esteem can be as even small achievements. Most insecure people sense that words of encouragement from mom and dad are because they love them; however, insensitive/ negative comments will be assumed to be truthful.  It takes practice in advance to formulate comments that will encourage, rather than damage a person's self-image after a disappointing performance in an athletic even or a low grade in school.

Encourage Learners
       Parents, teacher, coaches, and other adults can help by encouraging learners to participate in multiple opportunities to practice and master their skills. Not all learners will proceed at the same pace. Allow them to make mistakes and be there to provide encouragement so they keep trying. Respond with interest and excitement when they show off a new skill. Provide sincere praise as a reward for making a good effort. The comments that are insincere can cause more damage. A hug or pat on the back would be appropriate.

       Even children have their share of daily things that don't go smoothly. When their frustrations and disappointments accumulate, they become worried/stressed. Differences in personality and temperament can cause some to worry more than others.

Develop Good Lines of Communication
       The time to establish good lines of communication between parent and children is a soon as possible after birth. This is when a physical relationship is formed. Spend time talking with them, especially at family times such as meals. This is sometimes very difficult if parents did not experience a loving and demonstrative relations growing up in their own family. Just remember that as children grow up, they will discourage public displays of emotion. Respecting their new and developing boundaries is normal, parents should not take offense. It is still very important to provide support and unconditional love.

Recommended Reading:
  • PDF Cooperative Learning  Positive Learning Community: Cooperative Learning may not be successful in all situations. Experiential Learning activities, such as role-playing, can be a great way for communicating sensitive subjects.
  • The Importance of Yoga for Sports Persons   Feb. 5, 2011 Yoga is a holistic system - teaching skills which many sports persons seek, such as control over the mind, control over the body, good breathing, etc.
  • Autonomic Nervous System - NDRF   The autonomic nervous system conveys sensory impulses from the blood vessels , the heart and all of the organs in the chest, abdomen and pelvis, etc.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder  All kids have worries and doubts. But some have obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD) in which their worries compel them to behave in certain ways.
References:
Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Converting Bad Habits

    
   
 
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