Some days it can seem as if all you have said is “No, don’t do that!” and “Get out of there!” Begin to encourage the good efforts your child is making and you may begin to see a difference in their behavior.
Renowned psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs claimed, “The most important skill for raising a child in a democracy is the ability to encourage that child.” Dreikurs considered encouragement to be the single most important quality in getting along with others—so important that the lack of it could be considered the basic influence for misbehavior.
Encouragement is positive feedback that focuses primarily on effort rather than outcomes. With encouragement, a child feels worthwhile and appreciated regardless of the results he or she achieves. Use encouraging statements to keep the task/action/problem/accomplishment about the child’s effort, not about your feelings.
The following phrases acknowledge and appreciate the effort that’s been done and are encouraging words for anyone to hear:
You worked hard on that—it really shows, I noticed how long you stuck with that, Thanks for helping, I know that you don’t like doing this—thank you for doing it anyway, I know you are upset-I would be too, You have the right to feel angry, It’s OK to be sad, I have faith in you to figure it out, You must feel so proud of yourself right now, Thank you for getting dressed so quickly, Trust yourself, You lead the way, You decide, You did it!, What do you think?, I appreciate your cooperation, Wow, Look at what you’ve accomplished!, I love you!