We’ve talked before about how important encouragement is for kids. It contributes to healthy self esteem, it fosters courage and a willingness to make a mistake but try again, it puts the emphasis on how our child can make his own interpretations matter most instead of relying on the input of others, it helps kids to feel as though they matter and belong… The list goes on and on. I’ve already posted about some of the ways to encourage but not praise. This includes focusing on the effort not the result, and asking her how she feels about her performance instead of telling her what you think. I thought that maybe we’re ready for some advanced, out-of-the-box ways of encouraging our kids. Here are some ideas…
· Timing: sometimes children are receptive to encouragement right away. But sometimes we need a cooling off period before we can really get through to one another. Experiment to see what works best in your family.
· Acknowledge Improvement: when it seems as though what you’re asking is just not that hard, it can be frustrating and exasperating to have to deal with baby steps. But if we can recognize that our kids are trying, and acknowledge their improvement, they will be motivated to try again.
· “Catch them being good”: Kids learn better through positive reinforcement than they do through any other method (including punishment). Use this awareness to encourage your kids by pointing out what’s already working, and leave it at that. Get used to not adding “…but…” after each of these statements.
· Make one-on-one time a priority: nothing matters more to your kids than your undivided attention. Nothing. So give it to them.
· Practice good communication: It is extremely frustrating to be reprimanded for not succeeding after only receiving vague instructions. Keep this kind of miscommunication from happening by being very clear in your directions and expectations. Check in with your kids before you send them off, to make sure that you’re both on the same page. When you say, “Please take out the garbage,” and he agrees, you’re thinking “…in the next 60 to 90 seconds” but he’s thinking, “…sometime before I leave for school in the morning”. Get that all out in the open before you end your conversation.
· Forget the Jones’!: it can happen that you will feel discouraged yourself in the face of peer pressure from other parents. Or perhaps you receive disparaging remarks from people like your own parents. You know what’s best for you and your family. Sometimes thinking big picture means making choices and taking actions that seem to be the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Take a deep breath, stick to your guns, and use some of those encouraging phrases we’ve discussed (“You can do it”, “I know you’ll make the best choice for yourself”, “I have faith in you to solve this issue”) on yourself!
Encouragement helps in Raising Responsible Children
No More Pity Parties: it’s tough as a parent to watch your child struggle, but sometimes, encouragement is better than rescue
Encouragement can even help you Parent Your Teen With Less Stress