Building the Crucial C's in your Child - Connection, Capability, Courage and Count

Looking to build your child’s confidence? Here are four ways to help your teen gain courage and confidence at school. Click to read more and listen to the episode.  Click here for this week’s episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue and easy tips to thrive in middle school.   Marni Pasch -Academic Coach Team- Pasch Academic Coach  Podcast School Counselor Gone Rogue

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How To Build The Crucial C’s: Courage, capability, count and connection - Episode 047

How can we help our teenagers take ownership of their school year? As we prepare for the new school year, we thought “What better way to spend the last couple of weeks of summer break than instilling some of the “Crucial C’s” that kiddos need to go forward, take on challenges and learn independence? What are the crucial c’s? To explain it further I asked licensed play therapist Jennifer Wisser-Stokes to join me in explaining the areas parents and educators can focus on building to create awesome thriving students.

While we discuss the transition to middle school and high school, these concepts are great for adults to reflect on as well.

This episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue discusses the steps parents can take to help their children feel connected to the community and feel confident in their ability to take charge in a situation. Be sure to listen to and subscribe to the podcast.

What are the Crucial C’s?

What are the 4 C’s and why are they important to family relationships

What are the 4Cs?

  • Things we can give to children to make them feel connected to their community and their family.

  • Things that make them feel capable of handling challenges.

  • Things that help them feel their opinion counts in their community or family.

  •   How to help them build the courage to speak up and offer an opinion or advocate for themselves.

Here is an excerpt of my interview with Jennifer Wisser-Stokes LMHC for the full interview listen above!

JWS: I’m a registered play therapist and licensed mental health counselor in the Orlando area. My private practice is in East Orlando. My specialty is working with children and adolescents using play and expressive art as ways to connect and work through challenges.

Marni: You are also very passionate about helping families with positive parenting, and fostering positive relationships with their children with as little stress as possible.

JWS: Yes, yes. I’m all about relationships when it comes to family communication and problem-solving. That’s also true within the context of the kids and adolescents I work with.

Marni: With the summer break coming to an end, we had a conversation about middle school in particular, how students are coming from elementary school into middle school and they’re not always prepared for the changes that occur in that transition. What do you see with the students that you work with?

JWS: This is usually a pretty big transition academically from the change in structure and how that differs from elementary to middle school, and what’s going on developmentally-speaking as well.   

It can be an awkward time of development, having that increased sense of wanting to find socially this peer group of belonging, and gravitating more toward peers, but also still being grounded in parent attachment and relationship at home.

Jennifer Wisser-Stokes LNHC and Licensed play therapist, joined me this week to talk about what we can do as parents and educators to build confidence in students. Here is just one of her awesome points!   Check out School Counselor Gone Rogue on Itunes,Stitcher or Google Play or check out the website and show notes!

Hype the Journey, Not the Result

Marni: Something I’ve been reading a lot about is rather than encouraging the result, you hype up the journey. Is that the correct thing to do?

JWS: Absolutely. Encouraging the effort really really helps those perfectionistic kids was well as everyone especially our kiddos, have that internal locus of control of “I did this I. I made this happen, therefore I am capable, courageous and I feel like I count.” The problem with praising the product is that the person who received that may or may not feel like  what they do in academia is a reflection of what others think about them, not what they do.  So, “Mom’s happy I got an A,” but it leaves out that part about self.

Marni: We’re fostering their courage to try, and even more importantly, we’re setting up their courage to fail. That’s where I see a lot of struggle with parents stepping in all the time. It’s that – don’t get it twisted, I’ve done this myself – but it’s your kiddo does a homework assignment and you’re like “Oh, that’s messy, let’s just erase it and I’ll hand write it myself,” or “let me just correct this for you.”  Like when you start to take ownership of your kiddo’s work because the effort they put forth isn’t to some standard, then that’s setting them up to not realize what struggle or repercussions for their actions are.

JWS: And it limits capability. It might also interfere with connection. But, it’s a natural parent tendency.  I’m a parent too. I get it. I get it as far as wanting to take the extra step to set your kid up for the success you have in mind for your child and the situation. It’s really hard sometimes to just step back. But when we do step back, it does build that sense of courage and capability.

Marni: On the flip side too, I feel like a lot of parents are confused at this point, because some of them - and this is diverting into another topic, but - some parents say “I don’t want to be perceived as a helicopter parent. I don’t want to be too involved,” or they’re like “I feel like my kiddo needs absolutely no support at this point, so I’m just not going to do anything.”

And I feel like these are the message they’re getting from schools and the media and everything else. But now it’s like “What do I do? What is the balance? I get called into a parent teacher conference and they’re saying I’m not involved in my kiddo’s life, but at the same time I get too involved and then I get bashed.”

JWS: Yes, absolutely. I’m seeing that trend in my practice as well. As far as how much is too much, and when do I need to get involved or take a step back? I think the one thing that it boils down to is if we’re going to talk crucial C’s, it’s Connect. And to be very specific: it’s the connection between that parent and that child or adolescent, because that relationship between parent and child is the anchor.


Ready for your kiddo to have an organized school year? Click to get on the waitlist!

In Closing

To hear our entire conversation and tips on how to build capability, count, courage and connection listen to this week’s episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue. We go over tips and practices that families can implement immediately to build confidence and connection in their teenagers.

Listen to the full episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue by clicking above or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, I Heart Radio, Stitcher, Google Play or your favorite podcast platform. If you like what you hear – leave a review!

You can also sign up for the wait list for The Organized School Year at It’s an intensive workshop to help your child create and implement an organization system that meets their needs.

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  • Preparing children for middle school, how to build confidence

  • How can family meetings build communication with children

  • The skills children need to thrive in school

  • How to host a family meeting with purpose

Looking for tips to help your child gain confidence? Click here for strategies and ideas from a trained school counselor turned academic coach.   Click here for this week’s episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue and easy tips to thrive in middle school and high school.    Marni Pasch Team Pasch Academic Coaching School Counselor Gone Rogue


Jennifer Wisser-Stokes LMHC |Orlando, Florida | Play Therapist

Jennifer a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Orlando native who is passionate about working with children and families in the community. Using play and expressive arts in therapy allows Jennifer to work with children in an effective way that helps children feel comfortable opening up.In addition to using play and expressive art therapies in her work with children, she also utilize filial therapy (also known as Child-Parent-Relationship Training) where she teaches parents how to become the therapeutic change agent for their child.