What is the Difference between Praise and Encouragement?

What is the Difference between Praise and Encouragement?

Family Communication, Help By Age & Stage, Kids 5 - 12 years
Did you know too much blanket praise can undermine a child's confidence and motivation? Praise sounds like... "Good girl!" "You are so smart." "You are such a pretty little girl!" "You are strong and handsome." "You are an amazing athlete!" "You are so good at sharing." "You are super good at math." Sounds good, right? Familiar, perhaps, as you praise your child all through the day? Rethinking How and When To Praise Children Consider this, praise of this kind can actually displace just what our children need the most. Yes, displaces. As we give what feels like encouragement to our children in just the above way, we are undermining their ability to be intrinsically motivated--firing from inside themselves as they tap into their strengths and abilities to, on their own,…
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Positive Parenting: Better Behavior Without Punishment Is Possible

Positive Parenting: Better Behavior Without Punishment Is Possible

Alternatives to Punishment, Family Communication, Parenting, Positive Discipline
A few years ago, my 3 year old daughter ripped her brothers' picture. She did it on purpose and with the intent to get back at her brother. Many parents believe that such "acting out"  needs to be managed with swift discipline. A punishment like time out or some kind of consequence to teach a lesson. In the moments when I feel my buttons getting pushed, sometimes I fall into thinking about that too.  I've seen over the years with my children and working with so many families that such measures simply don't help children behave better. But there positive strategies that do. Instead of putting my daughter into time out, we did something else.  Control and disconnected consequences tend to make a child's behavior worse. Because children don't respond positively to…
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Your Child May Have The Best Solution For Unwanted Behavior

Your Child May Have The Best Solution For Unwanted Behavior

Family Communication, Help By Age & Stage, Kids 5 - 12 years, Parenting, Positive Discipline, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs
My then 3-year old son and I were at our favorite family camp one summer. My son loved to play in the woods – grabbing handfuls of red earth, and throwing them up in the air like fireworks. The beautiful color and sound filled him with joy as the dirt rained down over his head and body. I, on the other hand, felt no joy when he laid his dirt-filled head of hair onto the pillow that night. I told him that if he wanted to play in the dirt, that was fine, but he’d have to take a shower after so that we could get the dirt out of his hair. Seems like a very logical consequence, right? However, my son hated the shower. He screamed, cried, and hollered…
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When your Child Says: I Hate You!

When your Child Says: I Hate You!

Family Communication, Help By Age & Stage, Kids 5 - 12 years, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs
The Most Helpful Parenting Response When a Child Says "I Hate You." When children feel disappointed, frustrated, angry or other difficult emotions, they may say hurtful words. Sometimes those words are  "I HATE YOU!" or "I hate you so much mom!" That small phrase packs quite the emotional punch - especially the very first time you hear it. Last summer, while on vacation, my four year old son asked for a toy at a store and I declined to buy it. My son's eyes squinted and his face tensed up as he said ever so clearly  "I hate you!" I had never heard such words from my son before and it was quite the surprise. The secret message behind your child's hurtful words "I hate you" is often code for something beyond…
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Avoid Power Struggles using this Problem Solving Script

Avoid Power Struggles using this Problem Solving Script

Family Communication, Kids 5 - 12 years, Parenting, Tweens 10-12 years
The bathroom is getting steamy. The water has been flowing for minutes, and your child is still fully clothed, refusing to budge. Every night it’s the same battle. You say that he needs to shower. He refuses to shower. A power struggle begins. Some nights, you try to wrestle him out of his clothes. Other nights you turn off the water and let him go to bed dirty. What does discipline look like when you and your child have conflicting opinions about what is important? Problem Solving Together The next morning, you pour two bowls of cereal and sit down with your child. “I’ve noticed that you HATE taking a shower!” you say with a light tone and a smile. “What’s up?” Glancing up from his cereal, he replies, “I…
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Three Important Steps To Take After Yelling At Your Kids

Three Important Steps To Take After Yelling At Your Kids

Family Communication, Help By Age & Stage
Yelling at Kids: How to Recover from a Total Disconnect from Your Child Mama, you are yelling at me and I don't appreciate that!  - my five year old Sometimes, no matter how positive and peaceful we intend to be... we react. Sometimes we react badly...we yell! we say mean things! we wish for a break!!!!! Then we end up totally disconnected from our kids. If you ever do that, yell and then feel terrible, or defeated, or guilty, you are not alone. In a survey  from the University of New Hampshire, out of 1,000 parents 90% admitted to yelling when they felt at the end of their rope. That 90% is a big number so if you find yourself yelling, even if it's not what you wish you were doing,…
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Six Super Helpful Ways To Keep Calm and Deal With Defiance

Six Super Helpful Ways To Keep Calm and Deal With Defiance

Alternatives to Punishment, Family Communication, Help By Age & Stage, Kids 5 - 12 years, Parenting, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs, Toddlers 12- 36 months
These Six Positive Parenting strategies can help you respond to your child when they are behaving in defiant, disrespectful or unhelpful ways. Children often act out when they are lost, fearful and in need of guidance. A child that is being defiant needs to reconnect with you and find his way back to calm. And until you can step in and help, the acting out will continue. Not because your child is bad, but because your child is still learning and growing. That being said, it can be difficult to respond in a calm, confident way. Misbehavior can push parental buttons and ring alarm bells in our minds. A calm, helpful response even to the worst misbehavior helps children trust our guidance. The following parenting practices can help you respond in…
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How To Reduce Power Struggles and Find More Happiness In The Holiday Season

How To Reduce Power Struggles and Find More Happiness In The Holiday Season

Alternatives to Punishment, Family Communication, Parenting, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs
A store cashier asked my daughter recently, “Are you being a good girl for Santa?”  And then a few minutes later in the parking garage an elderly couple asked her same question. After a quick smile she turned to me.  Her face was all twisted up, eyes looking far away with a hint of overwhelm. The holiday season puts so much focus on children being good. Well-behaved. Picture Perfect. The Elves are reporting.  And Santa is checking his list... twice.  Having well behaved kids is a top priority for many families. And that this is one of the very reasons that many families experience an increase in power struggles and temper trantrums this time of year. Children are expected to be happy,  grateful, cheerful and just like those elves in the workshop, very, very helpful. Sharing…
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40 Questions That Get Kids Talking

40 Questions That Get Kids Talking

Family Communication, Help By Age & Stage, Kids 5 - 12 years, Parenting, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs
One great way to encourage children to open up is to make a habit of cherishing daily conversations with your child. Conversations build connection. When children feel connected to their parent, they are more likely to feel well and be cooperative. When we pause and listen, we can really get to know so much about our children. Sometimes our children don’t readily open up and share about their day. It can be frustrating when all you want is to talk to your child and you are met with a frown and heavy sighs...Ever felt like you don't know what to ask to get a child to open up? Most parents really do want to know about their child's thoughts, dreams and concerns.To raise resilient, happy children, It's important to listen to our…
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The Very Important Reason Children Need To Learn To Stand Up To Bullies

The Very Important Reason Children Need To Learn To Stand Up To Bullies

Family Communication, Kids 5 - 12 years, Parenting
At the playground on a sunny afternoon, my six year old son was waiting for a turn on the slide. Ahead of him was a little girl, no older than three, fiercely determined to get up all by herself. While she struggled a bit the other children waited patiently. Except for the last boy in line. After groaning and shouting out some mean words, that last boy got out of the line and shoved my son to the side. Then the boy started reaching and tugging at the little girls legs and calling her a "stinky baby." Stop that right now! I heard as I walked over. Stop. I want you to stop hurting her. My son stood calmly but confidently in place looking right at the boy. The other children…
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