Class member: My husband is in college. He hates fish and broccoli and my kids & I love it. She ate her whole plate. I said, “You are a rockstar. You ate all your broccoli”. It wasn’t immediate praise for my 6 year old. She wanted to know why she wasn’t good too.
Class member: Son is still working on not having accidents a friend of mine said if you have a ‘cumulative’ where he has a good day. He’s gone up to 10 days over 2 weeks. We have both tried to be ‘great job…you are doing good.’ ‘high-five’.
Class member: She has an 18 month old and says, “Thank you so much for working for Mommy and helping me out.” Another child she says “I’m so proud that you have worked so hard at this. Can you tell me what technique you have been using to do that?”
Class member: We just moved here from Texas so we don’t know very many people. I was running errands with my son who was 13. She saw this elderly lady out there mowing the lawn. My son didn’t even grab his backpack, but just ran over there and started mowing the lawn. I gave him a big hug and told him I was proud of him.
Class member: My 6 year old and 4 year old had entered a coloring contest. My 6 year old won the contest. I was trying to figure out how to praise the one and not the other one. The whole family won the tickets.
If one does really well and you want to acknowledge that one you don’t want to hurt the other one. Do you have to make it equal? Do you have to make it fair? Sometimes that’s what you guys do to not hurt someone’s feelings. It will never be equal.
Class member: We deal with that with basic things. My daughter came home from her friends house with a piece of gum and 4 year old was not happy. It’s not fair. I have been trying to help them be happy for the other person.
Our children come to earth focused on ‘self’. They want to be dry, held, fed. As they get older they are still focused on self. As they get older they are focused on self and everything else that the older other kids get as privileges. You don’t teach them that by doing everything fair and equal.
We need to make everyone understand their uniqueness and help them be grateful for what they do and celebrate their siblings. We talked about taking competition out of your home. If you have 2 children playing football one will be better than the other. There are things you can do to minimize the competition we can focus on that. There is still a bunch of stuff that will create competition. So what do we do?
First of all you have to decide what your goal is. What is your goal? The goal is….To make every child feel like they are your favorite. Every single child should feel that way. It’s not that they are in competition for being the favorite we just want them to feel good about themselves to know they don’t have to compare.
In order to do that we need to spend more time telling children what they do well. We have been taught from our youth that we like to be praised. Everyone likes to be validated. It makes a huge difference how it is done. That’s what we are going to talk about today. You can be saying positives to your children and it is actually being interpreted by them to be a negative. It’s discouraging & frustrating to them. Because you are saying it with good intent you don’t understand overtime that they are getting discouraged.
I’m always telling them they are good. Sometimes as we always tell and use the wrong terminology instead of lifting our children we actually make them addicted to praise. Some of you are addicted to praise. As we get to adulthood we recognize that of ourselves.
This is what addiction looks like. For a child it is whenever you compliment someone else they are right there saying, “Did you like my room? Did you see my paper?” They are threatened when someone else gets praise. If they do a job they come to you constantly seeking wanting you to validate, “Do you like how I did the job?”
On an adult level it looks like…”My husband never compliments me. He must think I don’t look good.”
You cook a new meal? “Did you like it? Was it ok? Do you really like it? Did it need more garlic?”
You teach a lesson? You put in a lot of work, but in a different approach. Afterwards the primary has asked for parents to hurry and pick up kids. You say, “I guess no one liked the lesson.” No one oohed and aaahed over it.
Do you see where our feelings of worth and value come from external forces. If we aren’t constantly being fed we don’t feel like we have value.
Question: Do you think certain personalities are more like that that others?
Answer: Absolutely certain personalities are more like that. You blues that are perfectionists like to be stroked. But…it doesn’t matter what the personality is the goal is to teach them to have validation from the inside out.
Class member: In my home I was not praised and told I was good enough. I decided that I would tell my kids they were good at all they did. Can you overfeed them praise?
You can’t overfeed if you do it right. When you do it wrong you create addiction. When you do it right you create confidence in yourself.
It’s not bad to validate. It’s bad to do it in the wrong way. We have to be careful that we are not praising them into what the world says is valuable.
The world says beauty and slender are popular. They become so consumed with external appearance that becomes the focus.
I have niece who is drop-dead gorgeous girl. Huge brown eyes, long thick hair. She went through high school being miserable. She was extremely popular. Said, “I just feel like people like me for my looks and no one knows the real me.”
Even if they are beautiful we don’t want to focus on looks. We want them to feel value better than that.
Ponder question: “When people say to you…’I am a child of God’. What kind of feelings does it bring to your heart?”
· That is doctrine. It’s true.
· I have to really repent for my Heavenly Father to know that he loves me
· That’s an amazing miracle and I’m so grateful he loves me for all my flaws and weaknesses.
Bednar April 2008---Unto and Into the heart. As you hear doctrine it comes ‘unto’ your heart. It’s like the picture of the Savior with the door and no outside door knob. Because of your agency you have to open the door to your heart to let it into your heart. The individual has the agency to let it in.
You bring things ‘unto’ the hearts of your children. We assume that means ‘into’. Some of us that overpraise we feel like we are really building self esteem and instead were are building addiction and dependence. If they marry someone that doesn’t feed that addiction they think they are in a rotten marriage.
How can we create validation that comes from the inside?
Class member: The oldest girl is 8. Her friends are getting into lip gloss and stuff. I try not to just praise her, but ask her about how she feels about that.
If you will give a time when you can wear makeup it won’t be a battle every time.
Our goal is…
1. Help every child feel like they are the most important thing to us.
2. Have value from the inside out.
My children have an ongoing battle. If you talk to Tracy she will say, “I’m Tracy and I’m my mother’s favorite.” “I’m Cory and I’m my mother’s favorite.” Cory gave me a huge beautiful prelit Christmas tree and said, “Now I’m your favorite right?” J
Today… “Praise” is going to be negative. “Encouragement” is going to be for positives.
Think about how you tell your children they do well. What kinds of words do you use?
Praise is focused on superlatives. It has a value judgment in it. “You are such a wonderful boy because you cleaned your room.” They think “If I don’t clean my room then I’m not a good boy.” Focused on product. “This is the best science project in the fair.” We created win-lose. If you are the best everyone else is the loser.
Class member: My husband in teen years divorced. It became an ‘I’m so proud of you. Because you aren’t doing this.’ All they wanted was his validation. When it comes to that safety feeling it becomes a ‘puppet’ thing.
You don’t realize you are doing it.
It is creating value. If you have 2 children in the room… “You are the best helper.” The other one thinks “I am the worst.” You are creating competition in the person.
How do you feel when your husband comes to you and says, “You are the best mother.” Do you internalize it? You cannot take that in. Especially if you are sitting in sacrament meeting talking about the marvelous mothers from the pulpit. The first thing that happens when you get praise you reject it and think about all the reasons it is false. Instead of it building you it’s impossible for you to accept and you start mentally turning it away. It’s too heavy.
Question: If you do accept it does that mean you aren’t humble?
Answer: Praise is lose/lose. If you can take that in you have built yourself up and can understand the person giving it.
My husband is a master of praise. I translate them into what he is really saying. You have reached a much greater development in the beginning.
You have the cutest hair in this class. She shook her head ‘no’. It’s like “Thank you, but…” Because we can’t take it in we start making excuses. It’s been so long since I got it cut. I need to cut it again. You are threatened if no one says anything.
Class member: I have a hard time giving compliments because others are just saying it to be nice. I don’t want them think I’m not being honest about what they are saying.
We need to get better at giving them correctly.
Sister Kimball said, “I never let an opportunity pass by without lifting someone else.”
We need to give them to more than our family….every day.
Praise is temporary. If you think you are building the self esteem you are not. It is external. Praise is like putting water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom of it. The water goes out the bottom and the bucket it empty again. It has no lasting effect. It’s a temporary thing.
Praise creates dependency on children. If you are a praiser and they have a school teacher that doesn’t praise because they aren’t being stroked they quit. Children raised on praise tend to quit when things get hard. In order for them to move forward they need that constant stroking. They feel like they are a failure and they quit.
Encouragement is saying a positive in the way it gets inside.
You should be able to recognize you did something good, but give the credit where it belongs.
Encouragement is long term. Praise can never be given to a child that is doing poorly. Encouragement can be given to a child at any time. If your child comes home with “F”s on the report card you won’t praise that, but you can encourage them. It focuses on effort not product. It has no value judgment in it. “You are good because….” You don’t say you are good, but they can feel they are good as a by-product of what you say. You can have a child that brings home a straight “A” report card that needs a kick in the pants because they aren’t doing their best.
Encouraging words can become discouraging if the ulterior motive is to get a child to act a certain way. Kids are smart. They know when they are being manipulated.
When we talk about complimenting we are saying a positive. It can either be praise or encouragement.
Pg 57 chart in the syllabus
This week just listen to yourself. See what you are saying. If you say it wrong in the moment turn around and say it right. You have to practice doing it right. Don’t quit you just have to turn it around and say it right.
Class member: In management they called it the ‘but’ sandwich. ‘You did excellent, but you still need to do this.”
Question: It makes me ‘happy’ when you do things for me.
Answer: If you send and “I” statement you are not creating good feelings in them.
You have to separate the deed and the doer.
“Thank you for cleaning the living room it looks nice.” Better would be “I like the way you dusted the table.”
Have I said anything about the value of the child? No I’m saying it about the bathroom.
“You really made that bathroom mirror shine.”
“I can see you worked really hard.”
“I think you found every single toy on the floor.”
Question: Is it ok to say the job is good?
Answer: If you don’t know what to say, break it down. What do I like about the job? I like the way the bathtub looks.
Question: We are complimenting the effort not them?
Answer: Yes. We compliment effort not making value judgments on them.
Question: What if the job is not done right?
Answer: Don’t stop parenting. Keep the standard high. The first thing you do is say, “I can tell that you got the horse and the teddy bear picked up. This is a good start. What else can you do?
Your children and you and your spouse have what’s called an emotional bank account. It’s just like a monetary bank account in as much as you put money into it you can withdraw money. If you don’t put money into it you go into the red and you become deplete. You are overdrawn. It’s the same with an emotional bank account.
Some of you have told me about a child that is misbehaving off the wall. You want to know what the consequences are. I tell you to take them out to lunch. You get mad at me. They don’t have the emotional strength to do good because you keep telling them how rotten they are. They don’t have the courage to be able to do it.
Emotional bank account is 10:1. A negative is any time you get mad, lecture, show you are disappointed. Think about your interaction with your children every day.
How much of it is…”Did you get the table set? Is your room done?” How many pings did you get? If that bank account is full it won’t affect the relationship. You are creating this downward spiral and they are so discouraged that they can’t get out.
Kids are not defeated. We want resilient self encouraged kids.
You need to help them find courage. They find courage in 5 steps. (One extra since the syllabus was done this fall)
1. Learn the language of encouragement. So they can actually feel good about it. Work on your emotional bank account. What is my ratio? If you are using the right phrasing you can’t do it too much.
Question: How does it work if siblings and spouse are pulling out too?
Answer: You can’t control that. You have a separate bank account for each relationship and it is only what you do with the relationship that affects that bank account.
Make a love book. Write something that you can give to the kids by Christmas. Very specific. It is one of my greatest treasures.
2. Learn your child’s love language. Everyone of them need validation and encouragement. Your spouse REALLY needs validation. Men become puddles if you will appreciate them in specifics. They will do anything for you. Just tell them how marvelous they are. “I appreciate this about you.” “I like walking down the street holding your hand.” “I love having your arm around me.” “I like to snuggle close to you at night.” If they did that to you, you would be a puddle.
Here is a test to give your kids to figure out their "love language".
Class member: Because he is so secure that when he has pitfalls and shortcomings it doesn’t sink him as low as it does me.
3. Individual talk time with your children. You have to do this with each of them. When you have talk time you may have no hidden agenda. Talk time is to go pray for the ability to ask questions and be able to listen. It’s your listen time. It’s really for them to talk and you to listen. You can’t plop on their bed and say, “Let’s talk.” You have to be able to ask good questions.
4. Problem Ownership. We raise children that we want to be obedient. In our desire and because of how we were raised we feel like parents are really smart and really wise and we have the right to be the dictator.
This person is being so mean to me they are copying off my paper.” We say, “What you need to do is…” We solve all their problems for them. They don’t know how to think for themselves. They sit in the class and the teacher says learn this and it will be on the test. They give it back on the test and then forget it. They have this authority figure that is saying, “Do this, this, this…” They haven’t thought for themselves at all. The more willing they are to be our puppet. They say, “Give me the list and I’ll do it.” We are making them handicapped. Part of problem ownership is to help them learn to think.
When they present you with a problem you say,
Parent: “How do you feel about that?”
Child: “I think it’s awful that they are cheating off my paper.”
Parent: “What do you think you can do?”
Get them to brainstorm.
They need to learn that they have some control and that they have good minds.
Child: “I have a huge homework assignment?”
Parent: “What is your schedule? How are you going to do that?”
It is hard not to solve their problems for them especially when you know the answers.
Question: How do you feel about something serious?
Answer: You need to step in if it is really serious. Bullying and things of this nature. We have to protect our children first.
5. Teaching your children to be creative thinkers. This is the “Come Follow Me” for the youth. This would involve having them teach FHE regularly. Instead of just reading the Book of Mormon again. Assign days and they have to teach you something from the scriptures. Pick a topic. Pick a verse. Create opportunity to create thought. You are not condemning it. When they are little we need to do more imaginary play. We need to do less electronics, less videos, less electronic toys. Let them go out and find a stick. What does it represent. Let them build tents. Building blocks. I think you encourage this kind of thinking with creative questions.
- If you had to be any kind of animal what would you be?
- What do you think it would be like to be in the middle of the tropics?
- What do you think it would be like to have Christmas in Alaska?
Have them make up stories for you.
Question: My son pretends all the time. When do you draw the line?
Answer: Some parents thing they are just ‘lying’. It is part of their creative self. We have to talk about reality and fantasy.
Class member: I have a daughter who is very much the same way. We started saying “Are we telling stories? Or are we telling the truth?” It has taught her boundaries.
Life is full of mistakes. They have to be willing to do hard things even if they fail. It’s just the opportunity to do it differently.
Encourage more than you praise. You will be ok.
“Carleen’s Dance” (Poem written by her sister…in the syllabus)
We are all going to fall. We are all going to make mistakes. They have to know when they fall they are as valuable as before they made mistakes. It’s not about falling, it’s about getting up.
Our children need to know they are always loved and their mistakes are forgiven.