Encourage, encourage, encourage, the best way to bring out the best in your kid. Encourage the process, not the result. Not “Wow, you got the winning goal, good for you!” rather “How did it feel to get the ball, and work your way through all those players in order to score that winning goal!” or “You studied really hard for that test, your hard work paid off!” Other encouraging statements might be “Thanks for your help. I appreciate it”! “I noticed that you set the table without being asked. Thanks for taking your responsibility seriously”! Or “Way to go’! instead of “Good job”! Avoid those judgement words, good, bad, and all of their forms.
At first it does seem unnatural but in time, it just becomes part of your everyday language. CAUTION! You can overdo it. Do not encourage every single thing – use your judgement. I have heard parents use an encouraging statement for every single thing that their kid did almost to the point of, “Way to go, you put your left foot in front of your right etc.”! BE SINCERE!!! Kids can see right through you if you are not and your attempts at encouragement will actually be discouraging.
Believe in them and let them know it. “I know you can do …..” NOT “It’s easy, everyone can do this”! “I’ve seen you do …..in the past so I know that you can find a way to do ….. If you need help I’m always here”, but help, don’t take over.
Encouragement builds self-esteem and confidence. It empowers your kids and teaches them that they are responsible for their actions. It helps to build a cooperative relationship with other family members and shows the kids that they are valued and respected.
Suggested reading “Positive Discipline” by Jane Nelson and “How to Talk so Kids Listen and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber