My friend, Mary Joy is having a wonderful linky party this week. It's all about encouraging your kids. I cannot claim to be the best mom in the world. I can't even claim to be the best mom in Arkansas, but I am the best mom I can be for my kids. So, how do I encourage my kids?
Hubby and I are very affectionate, loving people. We constantly tell the kids "I love you" and are always available with hugs and kisses. I asked my twelve year old once if she thought her friends' families just openly said "I love you" all the time like we do. Her answer was no. I thought that was so sad. Recently, Hubby and I were watching a documentary on HBO about these African children who took a test to see who in their school would get scholarships to advance to middle school. There were many children trying for eight or nine scholarships. Those who didn't get a scholarship would not be able to further their education. These children were under immense pressure to get these scholarships and they knew their parents and families were depending on them. They featured one sweet little boy, with a huge smile. He was one of the top students in his class, but apparently didn't do well on the test. He was very upset and his family stood by and watched him cry and feel as if he had let them down. NOT ONCE did they hug him or tell him they the loved him and that it would be okay. My heart ached for that little boy. I wanted to step through that TV and into the heat of Africa and wrap that little boy up like he was my own. I know not everyone is as openly loving as we are, but that poor little tortured boy broke my heart. Sometimes a good hug just makes everything better. Knowing that you are loved, no matter what, always has a positive impact on a person, especially a child.
I always tell my kids that I am proud of them. My parents always told me they were proud of me. Was I a straight A student? Nope. Was I amazingly talented? Nope. Do I have major career accomplishments? Absolutely not. I almost laugh when my Dad says that to me today, because I cannot imagine what I have done to make them proud. I'm not abnormally smart, funny, talented or successful. But, I am a good person. That is what I try to teach my kids. When my son comes in and says, "I won the race, are you so proud of me?" I always say the same thing, "Yes, I am proud of you whether you win or lose". At the end of my daughter's 5th grade year, she won several awards, including Honor Roll, but what I was most proud of was the citizenship award. I told her I was always proud of how polite she is and how she always put others before herself. She always stuck up for the kids who got picked on. She was always respectful of others. That is what makes me the most proud, that she is a good person. The bottom line is I always tell them how proud I am of them.
Postive reinforcement is also very encouraging for my kiddos. We try to always point out when they are doing something right, especially if it's something they used to do wrong. This works wonders with my 8 year old. He does get grounded when he does something wrong. He does get disciplined, but making a big deal out of something he is doing correctly, ALWAYS works. He gets very excited and it has a longer lasting effect on him then getting on to him when he's doing something wrong.
I feel that these things will build up their confidence. I think if they have confidence in themselves and know that we love them unconditionally that they can achieve anything. It gives the freedom to try their best and to know that we still love them even if they don't do well at something.
Head on over to Mary Joy's and share some of your encouraging ideas!