Vincent, age 10, came into my therapy office with a negative attitude and a sour look on his face. He never got his homework done on time. It didn’t matter because he got C’s on his tests. His mother said he did fine in school and praised him for his work. His father said he needed to learn to ‘buckle down’ and work harder. His grades needed to improve.
Praising children can be a multifaceted proposition.
If your child doesn’t believe your praise is sincere, he may reject it.
Vincent didn’t believe his mother’s compliments. He knew he didn’t get his work done on time, and he knew he could do better than C work.
* Be honest with your child about his work. Praise him for his effort and help him organize his life so he can succeed.
*Teach your child to work hard, whether he is learning to walk or solving a complicated math problem.
*Practice will help him feel good about himself.
*Praise him sincerely for his efforts.
*Ask him how he feels about his accomplishments. He will probably be honest, and you can help him find the good in his work so he can praise himself.
*If your child has partially completed the task in front of him, praise him for the job he has done.
*Help him find the good in his work.
*As he sees his positive effort, he will feel better about himself and hopefully complete his task.
*Talk about the steps he needs to take to complete his task. Depending on the age of your child, you may decide to work with him, turn the task into a game, or give him a specific time frame to finish in.
*Then you can sincerely praise him for each part of the undertaking he has completed.
*He will know he deserves the praise.
*Help him praise himself for the responsibilities completed.
If your child is in a negative mood, he may rebuff your praise, even though it is deserved.
Often Vincent was angry and rejected his mother’s attempts to be positive.
*Give your child some space alone to collect himself and feel happier.
*When he feels better, find a solution to his problem for next time.
*Thinking creates feeling.
*Talk about positive thoughts with your child.
*Remember happy family times.
* Create fun day dreams.
* Make up silly imaginings you can laugh about.
*Praise your child not only for the task he has completed, but also for his positive attitude.
Praise your child for who he is, not just what he does.
*Each child is a wonderful, intricate, creative entity that can’t be duplicated.
*Find the magnificence in your child and love him for it.
When I work with children in a counseling setting I always give them a homework assignment to think of three good things about themselves as they go to bed. For negative thinkers, that’s a hard task.
At first, Vincent failed miserably at finding the positive about himself. But when his parents pointed out the best in him, he began to see his worth. Soon his was able to see himself as good even when there was no task involved. His self esteem began to grow.
It’s rewarding to see children find the best in themselves and in their daily assignments.
As you sincerely praise your children, they will learn to pat themselves on the back. Positive thinking is a lasting gift that will keep on giving the rest of their lives.###
Christy Monson has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Marriage & Family Therapy from University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out her informative website [link].