5 Ways to Recognize and Encourage Positive Behavior In Your Children
Do you often feel that you and your child are caught in a negative cycle, when it comes to his or her behavior? Do you want your responses to your son or daughter to be more uplifting, and less upsetting to you both?
With some tweaks to your parenting perspective, and a more positive frame of mind, you can learn to see what your child is doing right. And encourage him or her to repeat it. Bring out more of your child’s desirable behavior in the following five ways:
Really spend some time watching your child interact with others and manage his or her own young life. Catch your child behaving well and explain exactly why his or her behavior is so pleasing. Let your child hear you say: “I like the way you stacked the books and toys on your shelves,” or “I noticed how quickly you came to me when I called, good job!” Offer genuine positive feedback often, specifically, and intentionally.
Author Robert Brault nailed it when he wrote, “A child seldom needs a good talking to as good listening to.” Pay close attention to your child’s explanations, and expressions of frustration or concern. Instead of dismissing them, or thinking of them as excuses, dig a little deeper. How would your child like to be seen, heard, and understood? Do your best to respond with respect and empathy. He or she will feel affirmed, validated, and more inclined to behave.
Give your child an “E” for effort. Don’t wait too long to acknowledge your child’s improved behavior or sincere attempts to rein in poor behavior. Regardless of how small the change in attitude or action, freely offer praise, and even surprise him or her with a reward. Express that you know how hard it is to change a bad habit. Provide positive perspective and reinforce the value of your child’s good work.
No kid is perfect or should be compared to another. Your child is unique and should be appreciated, not criticized for his or her differences. Look closely at your child’s behavior to discern whether his or her behavior is “bad,” or simply part of his or her unique perspective. This will help you recognize your child’s efforts more accurately. When necessary, be sure to choose your words carefully in order to be sure that correction is constructive, and your child feels assured of your support and love. The goal is to help your child feel more competent, secure, and confident is his or her ability to behave well — not to shame or bully him or her into towing the line. Experts agree that a 6:1 compliment-to-criticism ratio works well.
Layer the Lovingkindness.
As good feelings about your child’s good behavior happen, so should your compliments, affirmations, nods, and pats on the back. Let positivity and acceptance become a natural part of your connection. Catch your child’s eye, let him or her know you appreciate both who your child is, and his or her good choices. Leave no doubt that you are attuned to, and excited by, positive behavior. He or she will then enjoy pleasing you. Thank your child for behaving well. Make sharing kindnesses a firm habit each day.
Looking for the best in your child, and nurturing it, is one of the joys of parenting. Embrace the chance to guide your child toward positive behavior that benefits his or her future, enhances your family life, and allows you the opportunity to be your child’s biggest supporter. You’ll both be better for it.
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