Positive parenting can be a confusing subject. I believe most parents truly care for their children. They want to raise their children to be self sufficient and productive members of society. What we do in our homes sets the pace for our kid’s future successes in life. If we do it right, we raise children with positive self esteem. Done correctly, we give our kids the tools it takes to survive and thrive in the world.
Let me illustrate this with a true story. Some years back, our company decided to create a day for the children, and the parents, of the people who worked with us. Each family was encouraged to bring their grandparents, also. It was to be a fun family day.
It took many months of planning. We had games set up to play and lots and lots of prizes! The unique feature of the company was their belief in positive recognition. We wanted a chance to give the children a good dose of positive recognition.
We designed a t-shirt especially for the event and every child would get one in their size. We printed up some certificates which had their name printed on it and said “is an awesome kid!” Since I headed up this team of people, I got the honor of awarding the certificates. When each set of parents came to the registration booth, I was there to ask them to write on a 3 X 5 card 2 things they loved about their child.
This wasn’t a difficult task for a few. Sadly, the majority of parents’ reaction was either their eyes glazed over and they were completely lost on what to write, or they got the “deer in the headlights” look. They had no idea what they liked about their child.
I was surprised by a few comments about how their child didn’t really do anything right. Come on folks! You have a beautiful living, breathing, child and you can’t think of anything you like about them? Did they wonder why their children acted naughty? When their children misbehaved, was this the only recognition they received?
With these parents, I really had to probe them with questions. I had to use the best deductive reasoning I could come up with. Many of these children I knew personally and I was able to embellish their parents comments.
What a huge success! Each child had something said about how special they were when I passed out the certificate and the t-shirt. I made sure to say, “Mom and Dad say” before each special thing they were recognized for. The biggest effect took place with the children who’s parents had a difficult time coming up with something good to say. These children lit up when they received the kind words and certificate!
This exercise opened my eyes! How different would our children’s self esteem be if we could look them in the eyes once every day and tell them something we like about them. How often do we do this? A daily habit of saying, “I love you” is very important. Just as important is the habit of letting them know, sincerely, what we like about them. It’s fun and rewarding to see them stand a little taller and get a gleam of pride in their eyes when we are sincere about our compliment.
I have talked with many parents of young children who love to tell their child’s “naughty stories” within ear shot of the kids. What does that tell the child?
There are many parenting styles. We aren’t all alike. Most of our parenting styles is learned by winging it and making it up as we go along. The sad fact is most schools don’t teach parenting. They may teach our kids how to earn a living, maybe how to manage their check book, but not much on how to raise children.
we spend millions of dollars on education, self improvement and other self help subjects. We’ll learn many things to help us succeed in our careers, but not much about how to succeed in our families. It usually takes a crisis to wake us up to seek out family counseling.
Parenting isn’t always easy. Each child is different. There aren’t any cookie cutter ways to raise kids. I know it has made a difference in my family and my kids to tell them what I like about them, every day if possible. What we focus on grows. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the positive things our children do rather than the naughty” behavior? How could the world be different if we practiced this one parenting tip?
Leave me a comment and let me know how you feel about this subject. What do you do in your family to increase your children’s self esteem?
- Children of hands-on dads show greater intellectual abilities, well-being (canada.com)
- A Well Behaved Child (socyberty.com)
- Parenting Solutions: Bullied (education.com)