Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Power of Positive Speaking

I have been having some issues with one, okay two, of my children (not that the others won't bring new things up, but they usually take turns) and I was skimming through one of my parenting books looking for some inspiration. I came upon a chapter on positive reinforcement, and decided that was an area I could probably really work on. I praise my children, but there plenty of days when it's one thing after another and I wouldn't notice anything positive if it jumped out of my Cheerios. Nevermind, that would not be positive either.

I focused on one child especially for about a week, praising like crazy. We had a really good week! I felt wonderful all week, noticing positives everywhere. Our home felt wonderful. But the next week, not so good. Rather than getting positive results, I was getting shot negatives left and right in return. I got discouraged, sooooo discouraged.

Strangely enough, all these other sources on positive reinforcement started jumping out at me, like hello, you can do this!

This is something I saved recently. It's got some lists of positives we should use more and negatives we should use less.

I came across this article about a family that wanted to combat the negatives in their home and one way that they did it.

Jeffrey R. Holland addressed this topic so well during his talk on speaking with the Tongue of Angels.

"We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself. But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and their faith in God. Be constructive in your comments to a child—always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely. You would never do that maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget—and to forgive. And try not to compare your children, even if you think you are skillful at it. You may say most positively that “Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright,” but all Susan will remember is that she isn’t bright and Sandra that she isn’t pretty. Praise each child individually for what that child is, and help him or her escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are 'enough.'"

My biggest worry is sounding insincere or fake. I was happy to read the "I've done it and you can too" thoughts from Nicholeen. Maybe I'll try actually keep track to see how I'm really doing.

All these "you can do it!" pats on the back were just what I needed. Jumping back on track!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you posted about this because I've been struggling with the same thing. For some reason lately, I'm just a little short with Levi. And compared with his personality of losing his cool easily just like ME, it's a recipe for disaster.
    I loved that quote!!