What you perceive is truth is not necessarily true. In our parenting our perception isn’t always the reality.
Humans need to feel like we are of worth and valuable and what we are doing is of worth. We all need to have positives. I know that all of you are trying to raise your children with an abundance of positives.
“Every child needs regular reports affirming, ‘You are known. You are valued. You have potential. You are good.’”
(Sister Gayle M. Glegg, “The Language of Love”, Ensign, May 2002 pg 67)
With our children we throw out positives.
Example….Suzanne you have the best hair in this room. Her first thought is…yeah right! Look at everyone else in this room.
Write down something you are great at. You can’t do it.
Write down 20 things you do wrong. You can do it instantly.
We don’t give ourselves permission to accept compliments.
How do we give a positive in a way to lift someone instead of discourage them?
I was giving her a positive to lift her, but instead it discouraged her and she thought of all the reasons why it’s not right.
Class member: My 8 year old came up with a list of several things that she did great. How does it change?
She is still in those years. She is in a bubble. The world goes after them and puts them in competition. We in the home have to teach them how to preserve it.
What makes her feel discouraged? My reality is that she has the most beautiful hair. How do we get the love, encouragement, faith, and hope we have in our children so they don’t laugh at what we have said?
In your mind you have to stay with me in my definitions.
Praise = Negative that may seem positive, but actually tear down
Encouragement = Positive that lift and build
Praise always will be defeating. The first they do is de-value it. In your head you make excuses for why it’s not true. Praise makes us have to be the best. To be the best puts pressure on you. Praise is addictive. It’s like giving them morphine. As you praise your children they become dependent on that as their sense of value.
Example: If you don’t tell me that my hair looks good today does that mean that it’s not ok?
I externally need people to tell me I’m fabulous all the time or I’m not good enough. If you have been raised with praise or guilt you are very dependent on verbal affirmations from your husband. Men aren’t very good about doing that. You tend to be very lonely in your marriage. It has to do with your addiction praise. It doesn’t matter how much he says because in 15 minutes you need more. Sometimes it’s not verbal, but attention your are seeking.
What is praise?
- It’s not lifting. It’s like sugar. It tastes good for the moment going down. It tastes good, but then it’s not. It’s addictive.
- Creates competition by using superlatives.
- Focused on product….on end result (You are the best little girl for cleaning your room that way. Child #2 hears I’m a bad person because my room doesn’t look like that.)
- Example…you get up on Mother’s Day. Your husband says…you are the best mother! He is sincere, but you don’t believe it. Mother’s Day tends to be the worst day for women in Sacrament Meeting. The intent is to lift mothers. It’s because of this praise. They are praising and we are comparing. Instead of listening and being grateful for good women we are listening and saying we don’t match up.
- On Mother’s day stop thinking about how good or bad you or anyone else is. Celebrate the opportunity that Heavenly Father gave you the opportunity to be a mother. Go at it from that point of view. Get yourself out of self pity and comparision and pride and look at gratitude and being grateful and what I can do to show I’m grateful.
- Class member: You don’t verbalize what you want either. I used to just hope that he would figure it out and surprise me. You need to be blunt and specifically tell them what you want. You will be disappointed less. He isn’t guessing.
- Praise has only a temporary effect—if I am good right now, in 15 minutes am I still good? They need constant external expressions confirming their value.
- Over praised children are primarily concerned with image maintenance, they are very concerned with how they compare/appear to others. Your kids are always worried about how others perceive them.
- Over praised children are prone to tear others down (because to retain their value they have to be on top)—they tattle, they tear down, they criticize….it’s puts them in competition.
- Praise is like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom, there is never enough to fill the bucket. Children addicted to praise want to know if they are good now and then in ten minutes need to be praised again.
- Children dependent on praise, cannot stand to see others praised. If someone else gets a positive then they are better than me. They can’t stand to see someone else get validated. They have to call that attention back to themselves.
- Praised children are overly self focused
- Praise is external—is received from someone else
- Praise handicaps children to handle failure—they see themselves good only when they are the best. When a child fails they give up and quit if they are addicted to praise.
- Praise increases competition
- Praise is a reward, over praised children will not have persistence, because they will quit when the praise disappears. You can bribe your kids with praise because they are working towards an external award.
- Praise is EXTERNAL!!
What is encouragement?
- Encouragement is INTERNAL!!! Your value comes from the inside out. They need to become self validating. They can fail and be in a hard situation and they still feel of value.
“While counseling missionaries at the missionary training center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, I noticed that the most common cause of emotional problems was a lack of resilience. When an intelligent, talented missionary with no history of emotional problems struggled, priesthood leaders and others often wondered why. In many cases, the missionary just hadn’t learned how to deal with challenges well. Parents can help their children avoid such problems by teaching principles that foster greater resilience.” “Raising Resilient Children”
Resilience is failing and getting back up to try again.
The beginning step is this encouragement. They aren’t dependent on ‘external’ focus. Their feelings of worth come from the inside out. That starts with learning how to use encouragement.
- Encouragement says you are worth. Praise uses superlatives…the product or result. With encouragement you express appreciation and acknowledge their effort. If something didn’t work then we will come up with something else.
Class member: Focus not on what we are accomplishing, but what we are becoming.
With praise we tend to ‘tell’ them what to do and problem solve for them.
Children now have a shorter attention span. Their minds are zinging all the time. It’s that electronic input all the time. They aren’t bad they are constant. They don’t know how to sit or do very much reading any more. They don’t know how to problem solve. If something doesn’t work out they quit.
A child is coloring and his pencil drops. We say…why don’t you go get another one. Instead of saying, “What do you think we can do?” and let them solve the problem. We do it to buy peace. Lots of times we don’t want to take the time and we want to buy peace.
Class member: Another term is called learned helplessness.
There is a new term out….lawn mower mom….this is someone that mows the lawn and makes the way clear so they just walk down the green grass.
Class member: Some people think I’m not as involved as I should be. I don’t remember the involvement that people expect from today. Things like that are causing people to not be able to solve their problems because their Mom is always there with them.
Class member: I had my first baby last year. She was early. I was reading through my notes one day and I read that it was to teach our children to be resilient. It was liberating for me to remember that she is going to have hard experiences in her life. It’s my responsibility to help her overcome that.
Your children need a parent, but after they are married you can be their buddy.
We raise our children to be independent. We raise them to help them on their way. Too many of them want to stay home and let Mom take care of them forever. It makes the nurturing Mom’s feel like my value as a person is dependent on how much you need me. We want them to need the Lord and be independent from us.
Class member: When I was growing up we lived in a very hands off family. I struggle now with understanding when to step in and when not to.
When they cease to function on their own then you have done too much.
“As children become resilient, they understand and accept these two facts. They see life as challenging and ever changing, but they believe they can cope with those challenges and changes. They view mistakes and weaknesses as opportunities to learn, and they accept that losing may precede winning.” “Raising Resilient Children”
That is something you teach them. If they feel like losing or getting a bad grade makes them a loser they internalize that by how we react. We don’t say the words, but they feel like a loser. Our reaction creates in them the feeling. That has to do with our expectations for them. HOW WE DO THAT can defeat them or lift them. If we take their problems on ourselves and then we solve them they don’t learn and they become dependent on us and that they can’t do it without us.
- Encouragement is focused on effort. It’s very specific. Praise is general.
Example…I really love those earrings. Can you accept that? Yes. If I say…Those are the best looking earrings I have seen. Can you accept that? No…I bought them at DI.
- If it’s encouragement her value is on the inside coming out. She doesn’t care what I think.
- Encouragement is focused on the process. It’s not an event.
- Encouragement is not interested in comparison. When we look at how they perform we can’t look at the comparison.
- If you give encouragement correctly it motivates them on the inside.
Class member: I will say…How is my favorite 6 year old today? Is that ok?
If you use it for them all and it’s consistent that’s ok, but I stay away using the word favorite. There has to be no other comparison.
Class member: If I were to say that kids hear the word favorite and stop there.
It comes down to what their perception is. It may not be what our intent is.
PRAISE: “You are such a good girl for cleaning your room”
ENCOURAGEMENT: “I love how hard you are working on getting this room clean.”
Class member: Usually I say I appreciate that your room looks better and you working hard on it.
Class member: I like how you put all the pillows on the bed.
When we check their rooms we look at what hasn’t been done. We then you need to say, “What else do you think you can do?”
If you use encouragement with the intent of controlling their behavior it will never work. It is never used to control it is used to lift.
Class member: I have been thinking about my 9 and 11 yr old doing their own hair. How do I get the older one to encourage her little sister to say, “I can see you are improving.” Instead she says, “I could do better.”
That’s comparison. You can’t lecture them. She doesn’t want her sister’s hair to look good because then it’s better than hers. You can say, “You do know how to do your pony tail good. It would be wonderful if you can teach her how to do that. I’ll bet you have some tricks to help her to that.” If you pull them into a teacher position it helps them get out of looking only at themselves.
Class member: I’ve caught my kids doing that and I’ll say, “Let’s do that again.” Pretty soon if they don’t know what they are supposed to say then I can gauge what they know or don’t understand. It allows me to not jump in, but it allows me to see where they are at.
- “Why don’t you try again, I’m sure you can do it.” (after a child attempted to pour a glass of milk and spilled)
- “It seems you’re having some difficulty with school. Maybe we could sit down and discuss it.” (After a child brings home a failing report card.)
- Sit down after the designated time ask, “What can we do about this? How can I help you?” I know you are really, really discouraged. What do you think is the problem? I don’t know. Do you understand it? No. Your Dad is really good with Math. There are ways to help them solve the problem and you are not just yelling at them. It takes time and impatience.
- “I know you’re unhappy with the way your project turned out. Have you learned anything you might do differently for next time?”
- “It seems as though you had an accident. Would you like me to help you clean it up?” (After a child accidently breaks a vase.)
- The child has to be more important than things…ALWAYS!!!
- “Whenever I make mistakes, I try to learn from them. What do you think you could learn from this situation?” (After a child makes a mistake.)
Non-verbal lessons are sometimes more powerful than the verbal ones.
Emotional Bank Accounts:
They are critical. You make deposits and you make withdrawals. If you make more deposits you are in the black. If you take out more you are in the red. You have to put in 10 positives to every 1 negative. Our interaction seems to be more of either telling them what to do or putting them down.
If you have a child with an empty emotional bank account it’s almost impossible to act in a positive way. You need to learn the ability to say encouraging things.
There are 7 keys to help you validate and encourage your children.
1. Learn this language of encouragement.
Catch yourself when you are going to do a positive….work on something specific and effort and then it will encourage.
2. Learn your child’s love language.
Some need words of affirmation. Some need space. You need to give them SOME of what they need. All of your children need physical touch whether it is their love language or not. It teaches them how to be a good marriage partner. Needs to be some kind of physical contact.
3. Have individual talk time.
This is not lecture time or training time. You listen and ask questions. You need to have eye contact. It can be a few seconds here and a few seconds there. You need to be totally in their space. You need to develop this time where they learn that it’s safe to talk to you. When they learn that they can feel of value. You are just listening and empathizing and caring. That makes them feel important. You need to pray for the gift of asking good questions. Some people have that natural gift. I love to listen to her ask questions.
4. Help them learn problem ownership.
I love the story of the Brother of Jared in Ether. He tells him how to build the barges and what tools to use. This is our children at the beginning. He says there is no light. He expects the Lord to just give him the answer. Instead he asks what he would like him to do. He went and ‘moltened’ stones. He worked on them and refined them. Then when he put for the effort he comes back and says I did this. Could you touch them? He had a plan.
We spend a lot of time telling our children what to do. There reaches a point where we need to let them make their own plan. Schooling/friends…those are their problems. We need to be a sounding board and help them discover answers not by solving it, but asking questions so the answers will lead them to solutions. What would happen if you do that? What are the consequences to that? Help them see the long term picture. As they get older if they come up with a solution that you know won’t work let them see it through to the end and allow them the right to fail. What did you learn from this? What could you do differently?
You need to be their support system
Class member: I think you got there for me…How can we help our kids get through things? I can see my 8 year old doing that.
If they want you to do it for them ask them what they would like you to do.
Class member: I did something right this week. My 11 yr old had a tantrum because I wouldn’t write his book report. He threw a fit. He typed it and went back the next day and felt good about it.
Why do they do it? So they will change your mind.
When you give it back to them you can expect that kind of behavior. You have to judge. There are moments when we all need some help. Don’t let it be a habit, but there are times that we get in a pickle and need service. The rule should be they solve their own problems and you are the helper.
By the time they are 12 you are through teaching your children new things (Tanner 1:1). What you teach them now is how to apply things they have learned. You are their cheerleader. You teach them problem ownership. You teach them to be self reliant. Start cutting your strings. Help them learn to get up and go again.
When you have those experiences then you share them so they see you admitting you made a mistake. They need to see you feel of worth even if you make a mistake.
Class member: I had a similar experience with my 7 year old and a primary talk. In the past I have written it out for her and she just says it. This time I had the impression for her to look it up and write it on her own. She did it herself. It was through encouragement. It was a good experience to learn that and know that she is capable and very willing to do it.
5. Creative thinking.
This is part of the “Come Follow Me” and “Teaching In the Savior’s Way”. They need to come prepared and they help give the lesson. The way you develop the process is asking them creative questions. “If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be and why?” “What kind of animal would you be?” Creative things to use their imagination.
They need to learn to be creative…yarn, fabric, glue, paste, paper, pencils, craft stuff. They need to have a place with supplies and encourage them to make things. Encourage them to make their Christmas gifts.
Your children should have a non-electronic hobby….baking, sewing, wood work, gardening. How do they entertain themselves…it’s more than reading. If they write the stories or the poetry and create it then it works.
They need to learn imagination. Our children are being robbed of that.
6. Set goals and help them achieve them.
These help in PPI’s. We get them in church…Faith in God, Scouts, YW, etc. If you have regular PPI’s with them they set the goal and achieve it. What happens if they decide to change their goal…it’s ok. They can change it. They need to make the goal and then figure out what steps they have to take to reach it.
Class member: What if they want to change just because it’s too hard and it takes too much effort? When do you say let’s keep trying on this for a bit longer?
You can break it down into even smaller steps. If they really don’t want to and if that becomes a pattern then stick with it for a set amount of months. You want them to do what they want to do.
7. Identify what you think are their divine gifts and tell them.
If they think Heavenly Father has given them a specific gift they will work harder to develop that.
Class member: There was competition created because of the way those gifts were pointed out….be careful that it isn’t competition.
You have to be careful that they don’t take it on as an identity, but a gift and it’s given to help other people. This is better done in private. It makes them feel loved by Heavenly Father if He gave them special gifts to come to earth.
- Read and make a list of tools from Raising Resilient Children (March 2013 Lyle J. Burrup) This talk will give you more tools in any one place than anywhere else. This is great for learning this principle.
Written by Sandi Haslam
A spotlight, white and brilliant, lays a circle on the stage,
And in the hush there stands there, a child of tender age.
Slippered for the dance she’s learned; she listens, small and scared,
To hear the melody she knows, for which she has prepared.
She knows out in the darkness, just beyond the light,
Her father, in the first row, will watch her dance tonight.
Familiar, lovely, music begins to fill her ears.
Her small slippers start to dance despite her childish fear.
Carefully remembering each spin and turn, and bow,
She dances to the edge of light and pauses to look out.
But all there is, is darkness, missteps, and then she falls.
From somewhere just beyond the light, her name is softly called.
“Go on, go on! Keep dancing! I’m here, where you can’t see,
But, oh! My ballerina, you’re so beautiful to me!”
At his voice she rises and dances till it’s done.
Then, there he is, embracing, when the curtain comes.
All mistakes forgotten, she triumphed in the light
Because her loving father watched her dance tonight.
You’re the ballerina, and life becomes your stage--
This is your chance—your time to dance, you’re chosen epic age.
When the world would blind you and hide Him from your sight,
Know Father cares, and that He’s there, just beyond the light.
Wishing He could save you when you stumble and you fall,
Knowing you by very name, softly He will call--
“Go on, go on! Keep dancing! I’m here where you can’t see,
But, oh! My ballerina! You’re so beautiful to me!”
And at His voice you’ll know Him. You’ll rise and dance again--
You’ll wear out slippers trying to dance the dance like Him.
When the music dies away and finally it is done,
There He’ll be, embracing, when to the veil you come.
All mistakes forgiven, you triumphed in the light,
Because a loving Father watched you dance tonight.