Immediate Affirmation Produces Results

Immediate praise for work well done is very motivating. It's important to catch your children doing something right. Not only do you want to affirm behavior but also you want to encourage the character development that you see growing. Use words like, "You're becoming very cooperative." Or, "I like the way you are learning to be kind." Praise goes a long way to build good habits.

When my (Joanne) son Timothy was four years old, we had a problem with him complaining at mealtimes. No matter what I served, he moaned. So I created a "Good Attitude at Mealtime" chart. It wasn't fancy or elaborate, just a piece of construction paper. I told him that when he saw what was for the meal, he could either say something positive or say nothing at all. If he did this then he'd get a star on his chart. If he complained, no star that meal. I drew cute little stars with different colors. I put faces on them and hats. Timmy loved it. He had so much fun with his chart that he would eagerly ask what was for each meal, just so he could respond rightly and get a new and different star. I told him that if he got 12 stars, I would give him a treat. The star chart helped us break the bad habit of complaining.

Look for ways to praise your children whenever possible. Don't just focus on a child's weaknesses. Praise goes a long way to develop a positive attitude in our kids about the changes they need to make. Remember to not just focus on behavior though. Tell kids what you like about the character they're demonstrating through those positive behaviors.

This idea is not just for young children who seem to eat up our praise. Teens need praise too. Often the faults of older children are glaringly obvious and quite scary for us as parents, but determine to catch your teens or young adults doing something right and praise their character and maturity. You'll be surprised at the results.

Are there some ways you've been able to affirm the character developing in your child?

Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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  1. In my experience, affirmation produces more immediate and lasting effects than critique. We respond better to things that make us feel good!

    If the display of maturity is significant, I mark the occasion with an unexpected reward of kid-value. Maybe it's an ice cream sandwich at 4 pm or loose change for their savings jar or a "free pass" on a chore. The important part is the reward is immediate / unexpected (not a promise to go somewhere later) and it is tied to the behavior rather than the work.

    My 8-yr-old was caught weeding the garden, about a 90-minute job. I complimented her and asked what motivated her to do it. She replied, "when I found out our friends were coming to visit, I looked at the garden and decided it needed to be cleaned up."

    Wow! Yes! Knowing that she was saving for the purchase of an iPod, I gave her $5 to put in her jar, not for doing the work but for showing initiative and being helpful.