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Book Dr. Kathy

Competence

What Do I Do Well?

How would children and teens you know answer this key question representing our need for competence? How would you like them to be able to answer it? How do you answer it?

Competence – having sufficient means to do what’s necessary – is our last core need. We don’t need to be perfect, although some people are never satisfied unless they are. We do have a need to be competent, though. Without the first four core needs met, competence is, at best, challenging and often isn’t possible at all. Therefore, the solution for many children, teens, and adults who lack competence – who are apathetic, satisfied with average performances, disengaged from life – is to shore up the first four needs. Meet them in healthy ways, and competence is more likely and more possible.

We also teach skills that allow children/teens to be and feel more competent, such as decision making, problem solving, seeking wise counsel, and self-comparison instead of comparing ourselves to others. Learning to benefit from past mistakes is also relevant. Lesson about our multiple intelligences and study strategies are sometimes included.

Kids without healthy competence usually exhibit high dependence on adults, have difficulty making decisions, and are afraid to take risks. They need constant praise, worry over grades and the future, believe luck determines success, are cynical about school and life, discouraged about their progress, and believe there’s no point in trying.

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