As a parent, do you ever feel like all you do is say “no” to your children? Do you feel guilty for seeming to correct all the time? I do! 

Sometimes I feel like a mean, grumpy old stick-in-the-mud. Maybe we expect children to act like mature adults and forget they are children. Children cannot be per­fect but neither can we.

Parents can use positive statements to gain a child’s cooperation. Children warm to such statements and find them reassur­ing. The reinforcing message is intention­ally left general and given for no particular behavior. It is not because your child is good in soccer or gymnastics, but “Just because you are you.” Children rarely hear too much of this kind of affirmation from their parents. For example:

  • Now you’ve got it!
  • You catch on fast!
  • Well done!
  • You’ve made great use of your ability!
  • I appreciate your helpfulness! 
  • It’s great living with someone like you!
  • You’re on the right track!
  • Thanks for trying hard!
  • You really stick to your work!
  • Excellent!
  • You’re doing much better!
  • That’s your best ever!
  • Your helpfulness is appreciated!
  • Way to go!
  • How you’ve improved!
  • I am so pleased with your be­havior!
  • Isn’t it nice to have the job done?
  • Wow, you used your time wisely!
  • Fantastic!
  • You really planned well!
  • Your cooperation is helpful!
  • I feel good about your improve­ment!

Constructive criticism is needed by our children, but we can get into the rut of being too negative. I think this is why Paul said, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). —”Warmest Fuzzies That Ever Wuz (Words that could change your child’s life!)” Dr. Roger Allen and Ron Rose. Christian Parenting: August, 1989.

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