Parents are generally quick to point out the behaviors of their children they don't like, but it is an exception to point out the positive. Let's say your child interrupts a conversation with your friend. You may say; "I'm talking right now honey" or "You're interrupting". But what do you say when your child is not interrupting your conversation? Do you say; "Thank you for waiting" or "I appreciate you letting me finish my conversation"!?
If you generally skip the positive and are keen to point out what bothers you it can have unintentional negative side effects. It may chip away at your child's self esteem, or children may learn to get your attention by behaving in ways that are annoying to you.
I have an experiment for you!
When you come home today, try to keep track of the number of times you point out a negative, and also count the number of positive statements you make. Ideally you want the positives to outweigh the negatives. So tell them what you like, love, appreciate or are thankful for. Or otherwise share your positive feelings with your child ("I love you"; "I am inspired by you").
Sending positive messages is especially important when you are struggling with your child. Maybe they hit or scream a lot. Try to say something when they are NOT hitting or screaming instead of only pointing out the times they do; "I see how mad you are and I really appreciate you are not screaming at me. You could scream but you are not and that makes it easier for me to understand and talk with you."
Last night, I was about to point out to my daughter that her dishes were still on the table. Instead I chose to tell my son; "I appreciate that you put your dishes in the kitchen and cleaned the table, thank you Jake! He was beaming, his chest inflated, he sure liked hearing that! Before you knew it Maggie followed right along.
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