I make on bones about it! Children do not bank your praise and save it for a rainy day. It slips right by them. Why is that?
Receiving positive feedback for most people is difficult and that is because we were not given the training during our childhoods to stop, listen and take in those off-hand remarks of good job, way to go, nice project, etc. These remarks do not compute fully and are not remembered in the long term. How do you have to phrase the remark so it is not offhand and what skills do your children need to receive them.
Let’s begin on how to phrase them. In every coin of positive feedback, there needs to be specificity. You need to tell your child what job he did well. Also, it must begin with the word, “I”, and include an action word and a description of the job that was well done. For Ex. I am so proud how you helped me with your sister when she was tired and cranky. I can see the hard work in this social studies project for school and I am proud of the way you showed how creative you can be. Children love to please their parents and when you are specific they recognize how to get your appreciation at another time.
Sara Teasdale wrote a short verse that I have remembered since high school.
“Into my memory, I slipped a coin
That time cannot take nor thief purloin.
Far better than the minting of a gold crown king,
Is a safe kept memory of a lovely thing.”
How do you teach or train your children to receive positive feedback? This is actually a very important skill. If we do not learn this, then only the negative feedback will be remembered. That seems to stick like glue. This will effect every aspect of becoming emotionally able to meet challenges and overcome life’s ups and downs. Children have challenging times too. Getting positive feedback to remain active and remembered takes acknowledgment and repetition. For Ex.”Thank you, mom. I am really glad that I can help you when my sister is cranky.” Reinforcement “Dad, thanks for thinking my project was neat and that I made it different.” Reinforcement.
Stop, give, listen and receive. Yes, it takes work just like all important skills do. We didn’t learn to read or do math in one easy step. However, if you do this, the rewards will be great.
Oh, how my life would have been different if I had only been taught as a child or young adult to receive kindness and encouragement. Was there any positive things said to me? What I remembered was how I was bullied, discouraged and left to fend for myself emotionally.
We are so busy and running our children from one activity to the next or just engrossed in our tech world. Please take the time to give your children the gift of remembering what is so very good about them.