"Raising Your Children" by Ann Nevin 


Additional thought of Graham White in highlights.

Between the ages of 5 and 14, a child begins developing what we in Educational Psychology often refer to as the child's "Winning Formula."  It's the formula that the child believes he or she can best win at the game of life.  Obviously, it's a very important and delicate period of life and needs to be approached with great care and love. 

For example, if a child should have a bad experience in school, that experience may set the tone for the rest of his school years.  The child may make decisions on how he plans to "win" or "lose" in this environment.  Many times if a child is labeled "stupid" or "slow" by either parent or instructor, the child may adopt the belief that he or she is not as smart as other children.  The life-long consequences of such early events can be devastating.

On the positive side, if the child has a positive experience in school, and adopts a belief that he is smart and school will be easy, then that too will have it's own life-long consequences.  

The problem with raising children is that there is not one formula that works for all children.  That is why, during these early developmental years, observing, loving, and having fun with your children is crucial.  If your child bonds with you during these years, you have a better chance of being bonded for life.  If a child is bonded with love and respect, the chances are better the child will listen to your advice as he gets older.


The way that children learn in school often results in them deciding that learning is not very much fun.  This is sometimes an outcome of the type of feedback that they receive: "No, you're wrong."  "You are making too many mistakes."  "You earned a D on that assignment."  "You're a poor student."

The most powerful feedback is the kind of feedback that leads to self-discovery about the type of corrective action needed to take in order to get different results.  When the child hears a question that encourages him or her to think about how new actions will lead to new results, then the child feels encouraged and will try again.  With this type of instructional feedback children often begin to self-correct.

Receiving praise and compliments for the aspects of performance only inspires the child to try again. In addition to feedback that leads to corrective action, praise for specific actions can achieve a powerful effect.  When you show your appreciation and excitement each time you notice the children discovering a new distinction or becoming more skilled, you build their self-esteem.

Kids should be taught to use a report card they can use for life.  Instead of teachers grading them, students should grade themselves.

Most high school students graduate without being able to use their critical thinking skills to help them live their adult lives.  A major reason for this dismal outcome seems to be that critical thinking is not taught in ways that are meaningful or relevant or interesting to our children.  All too often in schools, children are required to accept opinions as facts without verification.  We require students to repeat back answers we give them instead of asking them to do research and find their own answers based on facts and opinions.  Too often in school we require children to conform rather than question the answers they are being required to accept as the truth. ("Love is the root of all evil." example)

Winning Formula

Between the ages of 5 and 14, children begin to develop what is know as the "Winning Formula."  Five things happen at this stage of mental and emotional development:

One- The child is encouraged to follow their own formula.  The child feels secure in knowing that the parents will love them no matter what they do.

Two- The child gives in to the parent's wishes, suppressing their own formula and adopting the parent's instead.  For example, a child may give up the idea of pursuing a career in Hollywood and become a doctor instead...simply because everyone else wanted a doctor in the family.

Three- The child realized that he or she cannot live up to his or her own dreams much less the dreams and aspirations of their parents.  If this happens, the child may develop a defeated, "What's the use?" type of attitude.  The child may want to become a doctor but believes they lack the academic potential to make it through medical school.  If this attitude is strong, the child may also believe that no matter what they do, they will never be that great at anything.  This child may give up on their winning formula, become aimless and begin to drift.

Four- The child may simply rebel against parents wanting to impose their formula upon the child's formula.

Five- The child may feel that the parent doesn't care and the child may adopt a formula that will et the parents attention in one way or another.


We need to teach children to have a positive mental attitude for problem solving.  When children learn at an early age that what they think matters, or that when they do a certain action there are specific consequences they control, they learn that they can influence their own lives.

This results in the child having self-actualization.  Adults with self-actualization are more likely to be happy in their selected careers, more likely to be healthy, make more money and are more likely to take responsibility for what happens to them compared to adults without self-actualization.  Choosing to change the way one thinks about a concept requires well developed self-actualization.