Many of us were brought up knowing more about what we did wrong rather than what we did right! Has this pattern carried into raising your children? If you are ready to change your belief from commenting on the negative to encouraging the positive, you will see huge rewards in your children’s behavior.
- Encouragement helps your children develop a positive inner voice. When your voice is encouraging, their internal (self-talk) and external (speaking with others) voices are encouraging, too.
- Encourage what you want your children to be and to do. All of us have a vision of the character qualities we want our children to develop. For instance, if cooperation is one of yours, then comment positively every time you see cooperation in action.
- This third point piggybacks on the last point. When you consistently encourage that which is positive and praise-worthy in your children, they internalize those beliefs and expectations which are clearly seen in their behaviors.
- Be specific when you encourage. Rather than saying, “Good job” make your comments specific. “I like it when you set the table without being told.”
- And, the BEST result of all, is that encouragement is contagious!
Listen to what your children say about themselves when they make mistakes. Do they say, “I’m dumb” or “Hmmm, that didn’t work out the way I wanted. I’ll try it this way and see it it works better.” If your child is making derogatory remarks about him/her self, there are a few things for you to think about.
- How do you react when you make a mistake? Do you judge yourself or give yourself compassion?
- Are you criticizing your children more than encouraging them?
- Are you catching them “being good” or “being bad?”
If you criticize yourself, it is likely you are doing the same to your children. I encourage you to attend to these issues. Remember, you are the MODEL for your children. “Nuff said.”