10 Compliments You Should Be Saying To Your Children
Most of us adults go to work for the paycheck. We may not love our jobs or the stress it brings but we would stay and keep working harder for the paycheck. That paycheck is a form of positive reinforcement. Now we don’t have to give paychecks to our kids but we can give them compliments to motivate good behavior.
Why give compliments
Positive reinforcement encourages our kids to work harder, see themselves in a better light as well as raises their self esteem. But compliments could be a double-edged sword. Choosing the wrong words, no matter how heartfelt the compliment maybe, could also crush their self esteem or put too much pressure on them.
Some complimenting words to remember
Here are a few carefully chosen words you could use to compliment your children:
1. Great job on the A+!
When you find out that your child got an A+ on an assignment, an exam or a project you could find it hard to hold yourself from exclaiming “you’re incredibly smart!” but clinical psychology studies in Dallas have found out that using strong adjectives such as “incredibly” or “amazing” can have negative effects. Exaggerated compliments could inadvertently pressure kids with low self esteem to do exceptionally well at all times making them avoid more difficult tasks to keep their sense of self.
2. You really gave it your all.
Now we may think that person-oriented compliments like “You’re so smart!” and “You’re the best!” are good but kids with low self esteem could view these as unchangeable traits, such as intelligence or athleticism. They may start thinking that what they can do are a direct proportion to their abilities. Process-oriented compliments (such as “I can see how hard you’re trying”) on the other hand, leads children to later seek more challenging tasks in the belief they can reach these realistic expectations.
3. You won the championship! Only one out of twelve teams can say that.
Regardless of their self esteem, parents should avoid unwarranted compliments as it may cause mistrust or devalue compliments all together. Thus, give your children accurate praise but give them a boost by adding how others might see their achievements.
4. You took so many shots on the goal!
Even when everything seems to go wrong, something always goes well. Rather than spending time on what went wrong, inadvertently putting more light to it, look for the positive and praise your kids for what they did well. Praise the elements of the action you want to see again whether it’s a win or a loss.
5. Great job studying and trying your best!
Have you heard a praise that is immediately followed by a comment that negates the praise? These are praises that usually starts with “You did a great job but…” Whatever follows usually undermines the compliment and affects the child’s ability to positively process feeling good about themselves. Watch out for those compliments that are actually insults.
6. You should feel proud about yourself!
There’s a fine line between telling someone they did a great job and telling someone they’re a genius. Family therapists suggests that rather than complimenting a child on her brilliance for their achievements, keep your compliments grounded in reality. Avoiding inflated praises gives the child the opportunity to feel proud about themselves without the pressure of performing at incredibly high standards in the future.
7. You’re helping our home run smoothly!
As good as it is that your child could help out in the chores around the house, excessive emotion and high praise on daily tasks may seem patronizing. Instead, emphasize the natural consequence of the chore and don’t forget to say thank you.
8. I can tell you worked hard on this!
We as parents may be feel we have react to every picture our child draws as perfect but it would not be good for them to do so. If they believe everything they do is perfect even if they don’t try very hard may cause your children to coast through life expecting to be complimented for even the smallest efforts. Instead, you could use praises like “I can see you put a lot of thought and feeling into your picture!”
9. He did really well, we are proud of him!
Giving compliments to your child doesn’t need to be addressed to them. If you’re proud of your kid, let others know especially when they’re nearby. Hearing others speaking positively of them is an effective way to boost your child’s self esteem.
10. I love you no matter what!
Parents love their kids, everyone knows that. But parents should tell their children “I love you” on a regular basis in a way that communicates that their love is unconditional and not attached to what they do or not do. Children should know that they are loved and be treated with kindness regardless of their looks, behaviors and achievements.
Source: Reader's Digest