Why is telling your child she is GOOD, bad?

Master Parenting techniques are the skills to help your children and teenagers to become not only cooperative, but also confident, motivated, self-reliant and considerate. These techniques also teach parents the tools to help their children to be resilient and brave. In today’s culture, teenagers are suffering from increased incidents of depression and even suicide due to the intense pressure to succeed. Children either become overly anxious or stop trying to avoid the pressure. Few adults have achieved all that they set out to do.  We want to avoid defining our children as good or bad based upon their ultimate achievements. We want our children to know that we are proud of them for trying, not just accomplishing.

Master Parenting
Of course, you want your children to feel loved, know that we enjoy their company, and increase their self-esteem. So, we think we should pepper our language with ‘Your great!’ and ‘You’re an awesome kid!’ and ‘You did it!’ because it helps them want to try, again. Actually, studies now show, it may not make them feel successful or try harder. In fact, it probably only makes them feel that you love them. How do we teach the life-time quality of resilience to get them to try, try, try again?

One way that I would suggest you use to get your child to try is to use Descriptive Praise. Statements such as ‘Good job’ are not Descriptive Praise.  They are what we call Evaluative Praise; they are too generalized and give an evaluation of “good” or some synonym.  Children see through Evaluative Praise at a very young age, because it is too general, vague, and most of the time exaggerated. By contrast, Descriptive Praise is very specific and highlights exactly what and when they are doing something right. It is used to motivate your child to do more of the right things. It is, also, specific enough that the child learns how to get more praise from similar behaviors.

Descriptive Praise can be used to motivate the child to continue to do something when it gets difficult.

The Steps of Descriptive Praise:

1) You notice.

2) Describe, in detail, what you saw.

3) Leave out Evaluative Praise.

BONUS POINTS) Telling them what quality was used that will make them successful in life.  So, adding the steps to a conversation would look like this:

  • ‘I noticed that you went back to the bathroom to pick up your towel before I had to ask you. That helps keep the towel clean for another use and helps keep the whole house cleaner. You have helped with the house chores.’
  • ‘I noticed that you have sat at the piano for 15 whole minutes practicing and you haven’t gotten so frustrated with your mistakes that you left. You are learning patience!’
  • ‘I was looking over your homework and noticed that you finished every problem.’
  • ‘I didn’t have to remind you to brush your teeth for two minutes, tonight. That was very independent.’
  • ‘That race was very hard. The rest of rowers were a lot older than you. You must have been very tired, but you never stopped.’
  • ‘Wow! You kept trying to get the coat on, by yourself. You never asked for my help. I saw you getting frustrated, but you were determined to be independent.’
  • ‘I saw you erase your work, several times. You kept working on the math problem, even though it was very difficult. That was very brave to continue to try.’

Be specific, in your Descriptive Praise, while you have the chance to form their resiliency and their courage. We want them to try, try, and try, again. Now. Later. And for the rest of their lives. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest

Amanda Deverich Positive ParentingAbout Amanda Deverich, LMFT, NCC Marriage & Family Therapist and Professional Counselor 757-903-2406

Amanda draws upon formal counseling theory and education, on the job training and personal life experience.  She is skilled in structural family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and Christian counseling. After earning her graduate degree from The College of William & Mary, she starting using the techniques she teaches parents in her own home. Parent after parent that she has worked with say the methods changed their lives. These methods WORK!

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