As parents, our children look up to us as authorities. Consequently, whatever we tell our children, and more importantly what our children believe we feel toward them, plays a significant role in how they feel about themselves. For the rest of their lives. Wow, that is a lot of responsibility! Exactly.
Say you feel disappointed in your child 10% or even 20% of the time, and you feel proud 80% of the time. How much of the time communicating with your child do you tell them you are proud of them? And with how much emotion? If the ratio is 20/80 or 1 to 4, do we give our child at least four times the praise? And with four times the emotion? As parents, we get busy and do not tell our kids how proud of them we are as often as we want to.
When our child does something inappropriate, and we step in to correct their actions we know we are doing this to help guide our children to better choices. But to a young child’s mind, they have done something “wrong” and have disappointed us. They feel they have lost some of your love or approval. If we add in a lot of emotion to underline or emphasize the lesson they are learning, it magnifies the impact.
Parenting is a huge responsibility, and we have an opportunity to help our children feel good about themselves. The most powerful way to help our kids is to praise them regularly.