Elevate the Good
What do we mean by this? It is easy for parents to focus on the restrictive or negative side of parenting. You are “restrictive” in your parent when you point out your children are doing wrong. “Why can’t you get ready on time?” “When are you going to do what I tell you to do?” “Stop hitting your sister!” While you cannot avoid being restrictive in your parenting, don’t overlook the many things you can do that affect the behavior of your child in a positive way, often without discipline.
ELEVATE THE GOOD…
Point your children in the direction you want them to go. Instead of saying, “Stop hitting your brother!” try, “Tell me one way you can be nice to your brother.” After you get that answer, say, “Are you willing to do that now?” Pointing them to the ‘good,’ is to get into the habit of saying the opposite of the negative. Instead of saying this: Stop running in the house! Try this: Please walk in the house, you can run outside. Instead of this: Why can’t you do what I tell you to do? Try this: I asked you to vacuum the family room. When will get that done? Instead of this: We are late again, why can’t you get your stuff done on time? Try this: Make a list of all the things you need to do to get ready to leave the house in the morning. Write down how much time it will take to complete the list. That is how early you need to get up.
Write down the negative things you said to each of your kids this past week. Re-word each statement in a positive way. Parents have to teach themselves to elevate the good in their children.
Praise and encouragement are far better motivators to get your children to do what they are supposed to do to than discipline and critical words. When you praise your child, you are showing him honor and your approval for something he did. When you encourage your child, you are giving him courage to do something he needs to do, and you cheer him on towards the goal. To encourage someone is to give him hope. Praise is for an accomplishment, encouragement is to be given along the way.
“Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up.”
I Thessalonians 5:11
ARE YOU REQUIRING YOUR CHILDREN TO DO THINGS YOU ARE NOT REQUIRING OF YOURSELF? Children quickly pick up on any double standard on the part of the parent, and it breeds in them a lack of trust and security. Asking your children to do what you are not asking of yourself applies to more than just your actions. It applies to how they view your character. For example, do not require them to speak kindly to others if you do not speak kindly to them.
“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”
I Corinthians 11:1
Elevate the good, encourage your children when they take the initiative to do the right thing and don’t require your children to do what you will not make yourself do as. Wow. This is a lot to work on, isn’t it? Pick one of them and get to work on it. Flip your calendar to the beginning of next month and write down one of the others and figure out a way to work on it. Do the same for the next month. The only way to be consistent when working on things is to work on one thing at a time. Putting these positive ways to get your kids attention will reap huge benefit.
Wow. I need to hear this message every day. By nature, I am quick to see all the things my kids are not doing well and slow to see what they are doing well. It’s embarrassing to admit that I have to physically remind myself (by writing the word “Praise” on a note card and placing it in a prominent place) to praise my children. However, when I praise them, I can see the joy on their face and in their attitude.
I also would not have thought to reword my instructions in a positive manner. What a great tip. It helps me to focus on the goal we are working towards and not focus on where we have been in the past.
Thank you Joey and Carla for sharing your fount of wisdom!