Compliments. Praise. Recognition. Affirmation. Gratitude. Appreciation. Positive feedback. Positive strokes. Pats on the back.
Unfortunately, most of the feedback we give our kids is negative. You know – CRITICISM. When we’re bothered by something they’ve done and we want them to stop or make a change.
To really impact their behavior, what kids need is more of the good stuff. Actually three or four times as much praise as criticism would be about right. It’s amazing how motivating a compliment can be!
If it’s done right, that is.
Here’s the secret…
Instead of giving a general compliment, mention the specific action that pleased you. AND – how you really feel about it.
Situation: Your daughter actually straightened up her room before going to school.
General feedback: “Good job, Sweetie!”
Specific feedback: “I love the way your room looks!”
General praise is OK. You could have said something like, “You’re great, Honey.” No harm done. She’d know did something you liked.
But by being specific, she knows exactly how you feel – and exactly what pleased you.
So she knows what to keep on doing right.
Situation: Your son called you to let you know he’d be a half-hour late coming home.
General feedback: “I appreciate you, Jason!”
Specific feedback: “Honey, I really appreciate it when you let me know where you are and when to expect you. Then I don’t worry. We’ll hold dinner until you’re back.”
Kids need more compliments. More praise. More valid boosts to their self-esteem. They want to know that we notice when they’re doing things right!
So with a little effort, you can go from good feedback to great feedback. You can give the best compliments in the world.