Encouragement and Praise
- When we praise, we send a restricting message (“You’re only worthwhile when you do things well”)
- But when we encourage, we respond to a wider range of behavior, effort, and improvement.
- Some children interpret praise as “To be worthwhile, I must do what you want.”
- When we encourage, we lead children to take responsibility for their own feelings of worth.
- Praise is limiting because it focuses on the extrinsic.
- Encouragement promotes self-motivation, personal achievement, and independent action
Accept your Children as They Are
- Accept them as they are
- Appreciate their differences
- Focus on the present and the future (forget past performance from this day forward)
- Show acceptance with: a smile, a touch, an accepting silence, positive phrases
- When you accept, don’t qualify
- Make encouraging statement then stop (Don’t say “See what happens when you try,” or “It’s about time.”)
- Any added word should back up your encouraging statement by pointing to something specific.
- Acceptance has no strings attached
Accentuate the Positive
- Marking only mistakes deprives children of hope.
- Begin to eliminate the negatives from your vocabulary, your actions, and your attitude: Students pick up on nonverbal signs also
Respect Yourself and Your Children
- Help children risk mistakes and accept imperfections: If you make a mistake, admit it; If you don’t know the answer, say so
- Be as consistent as you can: Don’t let bad moods or ill health change your behavior. If they do sometimes, then apologize
Help Children Evaluate Themselves: Reduce Competition
- Competition can be the most discouraging thing a student faces
- Pitting children against each other makes winning more important than learning
Involve Children in Helping Each Other
- Help children develop feelings of worth and belonging by emphasizing cooperation
- Encourage them to help each other
- Children can benefit from strengths that their peers are willing to share
- Have children list what they do well and what they need to improve on
- Pair strengths and weaknesses to tutoring
What do you do to encourage your children?