It is our natural tendency as parents (and often as partners as well) to pay attention to, and focus more on what is wrong, rather than what is right. As a result, our children and teens feel unappreciated and become less motivated to change or improve their behavior. In addition, they quickly learn that they can get more of our attention through negative behavior or “acting out.”
There is no need to cheer, clap and comment on everything your child does. When we consistently rescue, fix and overprotect our children, we rob them of the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, as well as to know that they can survive disappointment.
Instead, learn to encourage them:
- Conduct family meetings where children learn to give and receive compliments and learn to brainstorm for solutions to problems;
- Ask “curiosity questions” that help children learn HOW to think instead of WHAT to think;
- Allow children opportunities to learn and grow — mistakes and all;
- Have faith in your children so they can develop faith in themselves;
- Pay greater attention to their inner worlds; take into greater consideration what they may be thinking, feeling or deciding in response to what you do or say.
- Help your children feel capable and independent, by offering them both chores and choices.