One of the most important things you can give your child is encouragement. It will give them courage to cope with what comes their way. It can be especially difficult to do in the face of challenges like behavior problems but in itself holds the key to solving many of them. It is a powerful parenting tool.
“Children need encouragement like a plant need water” – Rudolph Dreikurs
- Use encouraging language – avoid the use of praise
- Be enthusiastic – focus on strengths and assets
- Recognize effort and improvement:
- Describe rather than evaluate
- Be non-judgmental – “notice”:
- By noticing, you make it easier not to praise because it automatically takes any judgment out of it
- Separate the Deed from the Do-er:
- ie. “I love you, I do not love the behavior”
- Use the right tone of voice:
- enthusiastic, humor
- Ask for demonstrations:
- It forces your child to think about it, do it and then feel good about it
- Ask Questions:
- How do you feel about it?
- Invite self reflection
- Be a good listener:
- Listen when you can rather than doing all the talking
- Encourage your child to talk
- Give Choices
- This forces your child to think about it and take charge of it
- Avoid Comparisons
- Support – let them know that you are there for them, that you have their backs:
- “I am here if you need any help”
- “I am confident or I trust that you can do it yourself but I’m here if you need me”
- The use of consequences are opportunities to learn from mistakes:
- Natural consequences require less conscious effort from parents as they happen naturally (provided we let them and that it is safe to do so) ie. if it is cold and you don’t wear enough clothes, you will get cold
- Logical Consequences often require more effort and planning in order to be effective. In general, these are the rules governing social responsibilities ie. with freedom comes responsibility therefore, if you choose to be irresponsible, you loose the freedom
Practice being more encouraging and see how it can positively influence your relationships. In my next blog, I will be looking at “The Language of Encouragement” and posting useful phrases for you to use with your children.
Thank you for reading!
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