Thankful for your kids? Do they know?

by Kathy Kuhl

Are you thankful for your children? Do they know it?

Some kids have no clue what their parents like about them. Some parents would be horrified to know this. We keep our eyes on our long term goals for our kids. So sometimes when our children fail, we speak up at such length and so specifically, that’s what they think we focus on.

Too often our criticism is specific and our praise is vague. It’s easy to sound critical in the busy holidays.

Suppose you ask your son to set the table, and then tell him:

  • “No, knife on the right.”
  • “No, knife blade toward the plate.”
  • “No, put the fork on top of the napkin.”

Later, if you tell him he did a great job setting the table, will he believe you?

Try praising as specifically as your criticize.

  • “You took those corrections really politely.”
  • “Thanks for remembering to wipe the table first.”
  • “Yes! You remembered napkins go on the left.”

When you praise specifically, you highlight what the child did right.

You make it more likely he or she will remember to do it again.

You encourage the child.

You make it easier for them to listen to future correction without despair.

Every child, regardless of weaknesses, even disabilities, has what Dr. Robert Brooks calls “islands of competence.” We need to put those islands on the map. Raise a flag on each one.

Adapted from Kathy’s book, Encouraging Your Child.

What tips do you have for making your child feel appreciated? Please add your ideas in the comments below.

Bonus re: the image, teaching your child to set the table, an article from Parenting Special Needs Magazine, with templates.

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