Positive Parenting: How Positivity Makes a Huge Difference in All Kids by Cynthia Miller
Positive, positive, positive. We had to learn this under duress – but what a great tool for all kids! When my daughter's post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) blew up at age 8, we had an amazing team of specialists to help us. The most important thing they taught us was the impact of positive communication. Not simply, "good job putting your clothes away" (although that matters too!), but also things like, "I noticed you wanted to say something mean about yourself, but you didn't. That is good self-control."
I've written before about the points system we use, created by Alan Kazdin, and its phenomenal impact. The positive reinforcement is part of it. Children struggle with so many things:
- Recognizing that they chose to tell you about the homework they forgot to do, rather than avoid your potential irritation – recognize that positively.
- Feeling irritated with a sibling but refraining from doing something mean – recognize that positively.
The fundamental idea here is that you're helping to build the idea in your child's head that she has power, ability, control. That she can shape herself and her life to fit with her values. I'm positive this positively positive reinforcement works – for life!
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