July 26, 2007

Catch Your Child Doing Something Right

How quickly do you respond when you notice your child is doing something wrong? I wonder if you can remember the last time you called attention to your child when she was doing something right. Children love attention and they will do anything to get it. If the only way to get your attention is to do something wrong, it's not hard to figure out which behavior she'll do repeatedly.

Instead of making a big deal over your child's wrong behaviors, try to catch your child doing something right. Call your child by name when you see her doing something right. You might say, "Kelsey, I saw you help your brother put on his jacket. That's great!" After she gets over the initial shock of hearing her name followed by something positive rather than negative, she'll smile proudly, stand a little taller and make an effort to get caught doing something right in the future.

Stay away from generic praise such as, "You were good today." Find specific incidents which define good behavior. "Thank you for remembering to pick up your toys," and "You took turns with your sister," describe the behaviors you want from your child.

Praise and attention are powerful motivators. Catch your child doing something right this week and comment on it. Your child will love the attention and you will have added something new to your bag of parenting tricks.


SusieQ said...

That's good advice for children of all ages (meaning adults :-))

And the advice works for self-speak, too. Example: a dieter goes to the fridge, opens it. For every 10 times she does that, she actually takes something out to eat only once. Then she berates herself - instead of congratulating herself for the 9 times she exercised self-control. :-) Something like that.

Pam Dyson, MA, PLPC said...

We dwell on problems instead of solutions which allows our negative self-talk to over power our positive self-talk.

Your example is a good one for explaining how to replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk.

Once you recognize that's what you're doing, you can make changes in your self-talk that become more positive. As your self-talk becomes more positive your behaviors will change accordingly and your positive thinking will become routine.