CATCH THEM DOING IT RIGHT
By Reggie Joiner
As parents, sometimes we are so busy focusing on correcting negative behavior that we forget to acknowledge the things our kids are doing right. But reinforcing the positive behavior we see in our kids is usually a much more effective way to steer them the right direction. And it goes a long way in fighting for their hearts. Here are a few tips:
It’s easy to say something general to a kid like, “you have a great attitude.” But when a compliment is too general, it doesn’t mean as much. Kids want to know you care enough about them to notice specific things they do. So take the time to point out something that is definitive, especially if you hope they will repeat it.
Look for ways to praise kids for improving in an area or because they worked hard at something. When you encourage effort or determination, you are helping them build a strong work ethic. When you compliment your kids for things they really didn’t do, you run the risk of creating an inflated ego.
Establish a Pattern
I know a mom who used dinnertime once a week to tell her kids something positive she had noticed in them that week. Her son secretly told me it was his favorite time of the week. That’s because
most of us crave affirmation at some level. Sometimes it helps to establish routine times when you know you will have a consistent opportunity to affirm your kids.
Stretch Your Vocabulary
Words are more powerful than most people imagine. So what we say to our kids over time really does matter. Here are a few phrases to get you started.
You have really improved . . . (encourage them to keep growing.)
I love the way you . . . (it will encourage them to celebrate their uniqueness.)
I noticed how you . . . (It will encourage them to demonstrate character.)
Thank you for . . . (It will encourage them to express gratitude.)
I can tell how hard you worked...(It will encourage them to develop responsibility)
I bet one day you will . . . (It will encourage them to find hope.)
I like hanging out with you because . . . (It will encourage the to value relationship.)
You have helped me learn . . . (It will encourage them to show respect.)
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