As a parent, it is my intention to build my kid's inner life. How I speak to them is an important part of how I build this inner life. We praise our kids to let them know when we are proud of them. We praise our kids to acknowledge the good things they are doing. Sometimes our praise is a way of showing our love for them.
Praise is feedback for our kids. We want to give feedback that carries a message. As a parent, my intention is that the praise I give builds my children's inner script of confidence and builds their self-esteem. Let me give you an example.
My oldest son is seven and is just finishing first grade. Our big task this school year has been learning to read. As we navigate the road of mom, son and homework I find that its easy praise him by saying, "wow, you are so smart." Sounds great. I really do think he's smart but, what happens when he encounters something that is a struggle. This bit of praise has built a feedback loop that says his smartness is the reason he is learning and if he is struggling with something, he must not be smart.
Praise that builds internal motivation must carry a message. Rather than focusing on his smartness, something he really has little control over, I amplify the effort he gave to learn something by saying, "Wow! I noticed you have worked really hard on your homework this week." or "Doesn't it feel good knowing all your hardwork during reading groups is helping you read that magazine?" This type of feedback builds an internal script in my son. Next time he comes up against something that is difficult for him, his internal script will recognize that hard work and diligence will be what helps him succeed in the challenge.
In this next week, my personal challenge is to continue to be intentional in the praise I give my kids. How I praise my children can become a habit. I want my habit of praise to be intentional and amplifying of their strengths. If this is something that resonates with you, I'd love to hear how you are working this out with your own kids. A great way to do this is to like Foundations Parent and Life Coaching on Facebook. I'll be checking in through out the week letting you know how its going for me. I'd love to hear from you as well.
Also, if this is an area you would like to grow in as a parent, l'd love to work with you. Visit the scheduling page and make an appointment for a free consultation to find out what services Foundations Parent and Life Coaching offers to support you as a parent.