When we receive an unexpected compliment, it can make our day. So, why not do the same for your kids? Take notice of praiseworthy efforts; let them know you’re happy to have them as part of the family; take a moment to say you’re glad to be their mom or dad. Kids benefit from knowing that we notice their positive behavior and that we value them.
their character In a world where integrity is neither regularly taught nor generally expected, compliments can make a big difference. When you see your child being honest, kind, generous, and trustworthy take them aside and offer praise about their good character traits. Psychologists explain that people strive to do more of what brings praise from others.
respect and obedience Children who get a lot of attention only for bad behavior tend to repeat those behaviors because they learn it is the best way to get our attention. Rather than waiting for disrespect or disobedience (then coming down like a ton of bricks), try noticing respect and obedience: “I don’t always remember to tell you, but you are an awesome young man, and I appreciate the way you treat (talk to) your mother.”
when they achieve new things Whether the achievement was in math, sports, or dance, a well-placed compliment allows them to know that challenging themselves to grow is good. “Nice work! I’m not at all surprised, you worked hard to get that grade.” “Wow! Your hard work really paid off.”
for helping around the house “I appreciate your help taking out the trash (doing the dishes…putting the groceries away). Your good attitude makes a difference.” Kids who are told they make a difference in their family, will repeat those good actions.
the quality of their work Children doing a job at a high standard is always worth declaring. “This is one clean kitchen, sister!” “You mowed the lawn right up to the edge. Way to go!”
effort–even if the results are not the best In our role as teachers, we can use compliments as we teach helpers what went wrong to motivate continued efforts. When the effort ends up making a mess, it’s a good time to say, “I’m happy about your willingness to help. Next time we’ll work on how to get the trash to the curb without leaving a trail.”
for self-control When you see your children stay calm, walk away, or take a few breaths to evaluate before responding–compliment them for staying in control of their reactions. “It gives me a lot of confidence to know you stay in control when it’s not going your way.”
their style and design choice “I can tell you put a lot of thought into decorating your room.” “When it comes to putting together an outfit, you certainly have a flair for fashion.” Let them know their creativity is brilliant. You don’t need to limit compliments to your own range of tastes.
their decisions Compliment children when you see them evaluate all their options (what to wear…eat…do), consider the outcomes, and then make a decision. “I like how you thought through your decision.” “I’m proud of you for thinking that through and making a good choice.” Their use of critical thinking and decision-making skills mold them into stronger and more independent individuals.
for simply being them Your children need to understand they are loved and valued just because they are. “I love being your mom (dad), and I love you just because you are you.”
The need for affirmation is like a tire with a slow leak, which though pumped up one day must be blown up again the next day. We all have an ongoing need for affirmation, and initial compliments need to be followed up with reminders. Striving to fill children often with compliments will keep them rollin’ for a lifetime.