The art of praise—what is known as positive reinforcement in the current psychological jargon—is an essential art for a parent or teacher to master... The teenagers who sit in my office tell me again and again, “My dad gets all over my case when I mess up at school, but when I bring home a good grade he acts as if it’s nothing—that I’m finally doing what I should have been doing all along.” Stop and think. How long has it been since you took a full 60 seconds to talk to your son or daughter about some fine thing they’ve just done? —Alan Loy McGinnis
A nurse ushered me into my grandma’s room. Lying in the hospital bed, she looked so small. Her eyes were closed. I sat down quietly.
I was on my way to seminary and full of self-doubt. I had just given up a full scholarship to medical school, and everyone thought I was making a mistake. I desperately wanted Grandma’s advice, but the nurse had warned me that she didn’t have much strength left. After half an hour, Grandma hadn’t stirred, so I just started talking. Suddenly she woke up, asking, “Danny, is that you?”
She told me how her faith had guided her all her life. After a few minutes, a great peace settled around us. I kissed Grandma and turned to leave, but then I heard her whisper some parting words. I leaned over to listen. “I believe in you,” she said.
Grandma died that night, but in more than 20 years of work as a Christian psychologist, I have passed on her words many times. Four simple words can make a lifetime of difference.
The week before my father died, when I was a senior in college, he took me aside and showed me a box of clippings of newspaper and magazine articles he had written and hidden away. When I asked in surprise why he hadn’t shown me these before, he replied, “Your mother discouraged me from writing because I don’t have a college education, so I’ve done it in secret and she doesn’t know.”
Mother had not meant to be a discourager, but she had stated what seemed an obvious fact to her: If you’re not educated, you shouldn’t write.
My father had not let this attitude depress him, but he had “hidden his light under a bushel.” He told me he had written an article for the
Advance magazine but it had not been published. “I guess I reached for something a little too big this time,” he shared. How touched I was that he had told me about his interest in writing and the article he had submitted to the Advance magazine! Within days my father dropped dead in a Boston subway station, and on the day of the funeral the new issue of Advance arrived—with his article published in it. Had he not confided in me, I would never have opened that issue.
I have the framed article with my father’s picture hanging in my study, and each time I glance at it I wonder what that man might have become as a writer if only someone had believed in him.
We live in a discouraging world full of people who put us down. What bright lights we can be when we say the simple words, “I have confidence in you!”
A six-year-old came home from school one day with a note from his teacher in which it was suggested that he be taken out of school as he was “too stupid to learn”. His name: Thomas Alva Edison.
If you have a boy who just can’t learn in your class, don’t despair. He may be a late bloomer. It has now come out that Dr. Wernher von Braun, the missile and satellite expert, flunked math and physics in his early teens.
A boy who was so slow to learn to talk that his parents thought him abnormal & his teachers called him a “misfit”. His classmates avoided him and seldom invited him to play with them. He failed his first college entrance exam at a college in Zurich, Switzerland. A year later he tried again. In time he became world famous as a scientist. His name: Albert Einstein.
A young English boy was called “Carrot Top” by other students & given “little chance of success” by some teachers. He ranked third lowest in class: grade averages for English was 95%, history 85%, mathematics 50%, Latin 30%.
His teacher’s report reads: “The boy is certainly no scholar and has repeated his grade twice. He has also a stubborn streak and is sometimes rebellious in nature. He seems to have little or no understanding of his school work, except in a most mechanical way. At times, he seems almost perverse in his ability to learn. He has not made the most of his opportunities.”
Later, the lad settled down to serious study and soon the world began to hear about Winston Churchill.
Compilation courtesy of TFI. Photo by Sasvasta Chatterjee via Flickr.
The specific signs of dyslexia, both weaknesses and strengths, in any one individual will vary according to the age and educational level of that person. The five-year-old who can’t quite learn his letters becomes the six-year-old who can’t match sounds to letters and the fourteen-year-old who dreads reading out loud and the twenty-four-year-old who reads excruciatingly slowly. The threads persist throughout a person’s life.
The earliest clues involve mostly spoken language. The very first clue to a language (and reading) problem may be delayed language. Once the child begins to speak, look for the following problems:
The preschool years
Kindergarten and first grade
In addition to looking for indications of problems in speaking and reading, here are some indications of strengths to look for and applaud in your child:
Many of these indicate strengths in higher-level thinking processes.
Excerpted and adapted from Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level http://www.readingrockets.org/article/70
Words are not the only way to communicate your love and win your teens’ trust. There are a lot of other ways. Try to catch their eyes. Use your eyes to show them your love. Don’t give them an accusatory or hurt look which probes for guilt or wrong—but give them loving, understanding, encouraging looks. Let them hear by the tone of your voice that you do love them and you do understand. Actually, it is not how much you communicate with them but that you do communicate with them. Try to touch base with them in some way each day—via a look, a touch, an encouraging word—then build on this. It will grow! Give them the help and support they need. At this age they are very insecure and feel like they are being tossed on a troubled sea. They are looking for the lighthouse. Be their beacon!
They can count on you
There will be times when you will have to lay down the line and be firm with your teens as you guide and correct them, but as they grow, you will have less of a direct influence over their lives. Your role will change from their parent to their friend—not an “anything goes” friend, but one who loves them enough to be honest with them—someone they can count on, someone who is more a helping hand than a judge—someone they can lean on, rather than someone they have to avoid or hide their life from or try to get around.
Help them know they can really count on you. You build their confidence in you by being faithful in all those little things that add up in their mind to the kind of person they believe you should be. If you’ve made a mistake and flown off the handle, if you have been too extreme with them, if you have scared them off or driven them into their own world, then go to them and apologize. Explain that you want to change and you want to be different.
If you are humble and you show that you know you have weaknesses and need help in many areas too, then even if your teens don’t show it, they will have seen you put your heart on the line and trust them with a sensitive part of your life, and this will encourage them. They do need your help, they want your help, but they want it on their terms—when they want it and how they want it. Of course, sometimes when they are in trouble and you see they are in trouble, you do need to intercede. Go to them directly and explain the situation as you see it.
If your teen doesn’t respond to your efforts to communicate, perhaps he (or she) just isn’t able to talk to you face to face, especially if you aren’t very good at controlling your anger or emotions, and therefore they’re afraid of how you might react. If this is the case, then encourage him to write you a note, or to record his thoughts on a tape recorder or dictaphone, and give you the tape to listen to. That way you can “hear” him out without him experiencing your initial reaction head-on. You have time to think things over, he has time to think things over, and you can have a discussion later in a calmer frame of mind, or answer him in a note if you like.
Guide rather than intrude
Young people are unsure of a great many things, and so sometimes they jealously protect the “garden” of their lives from intrusion. They are not sure which are the weeds and which are the good plants, but they are sure they do not want you stomping into their life and pulling out what you think are weeds. They want to make those decisions for themselves. They may like to have your guidance, but constant intrusion into their lives is not usually what they want.
Love despite silence
A parent should try not to be put off by silence. Keep putting your heart into talking and communicating with your teens. Give them a few signs of affection—a hug, a kiss, a touch or pat, an expression of warmth. Just let them know you are there, that you care, that it is okay, you are listening, you are watching out for them. All these help them feel more secure, even if they do not openly admit it or react as if they do. Sometimes they do not want to react or show too much weakness to you, because they know that will bring out the parent side in you and put them right back in the role of being children.
Cherish your moments together
Keep reminding yourself that your teens are growing up and may soon go their own way, so the moments you have together are precious and should be positive and memorable ones you can all look back on and cherish. Don’t fight over trivial matters. It is just not important. Even if you think it is important to have an argument about something—stop! First try to love them. Show them love, even in a storm. Love never fails! You may be very upset, but they are likely worried and confused too.
Arguments fail! Expectations fail. Giving orders fails. But love never fails. Try to get past your anger. Try not to be too set in your ways and too predictable in your negative reactions. Only be predictable in your love for your teens. If they are secure in your love, this will be a good foundation upon which problems can be worked out. Stay open, approachable and give them opportunities to talk to you.
Step back! Let them breathe!
Surprise your teens by making changes—changes in your life and attitude and way of looking at things. Surprise them with all kinds of interesting differences. Young people want to be proud of their parents. They want to feel that their parents are cool, but even more than that, they are looking for something warm, supportive and understanding in you—someone who is there, right there praying for them, standing beside them—not like a blanket suffocating them, but like an umbrella protecting them.
If you are the type of parent that likes to take control, that grabs the pencil away from them to show them how you’d do it, then you must learn to let go of that desire for direct management of their lives. Step back! Let them breathe. They know what you believe. By now you have certainly told them enough times. Just turning up the volume now, yelling at them, or forcing them, or being harsh or critical or negative, or speaking as though you expect the worst, is the worst and will get the worst results. They may just tune you out and stop listening.
Their life is sacred. It does not belong to you; it belongs to them. And there comes a time when you have to move back and give the controls to them. Let them row their boat. Let them learn to drive the vehicle of their life. But be there to help, and encourage them as they learn. Don’t be too quick to grab the controls away from them. It’s too late for that. They’re growing and they’re going to be venturing out on their own whether you like it or not. It is hard to step out of the role of their boss, but you must. However, do not go to the opposite extreme and become so passive and detached they think you just don’t care. Step back and into the role of friend, supporter, cheerleader, avid fan, admirer, the one who believes in them, the one who loves them unconditionally even when they don’t reach their expectations—or yours.
Show positive expectations
It’s unfortunate, but young people often act out your negative expectations. It’s better to try to show positive expectations and hide your disappointment. Positive expectations move them toward the good and convict them when they do wrong, because they don’t want to disappoint you or cause you to lose faith in them. On the other hand, if they feel your negative suspicions, accusations or assumptions, they may tend to go that way. (Simply put, it is easier to be bad if someone expects you to be bad, but it is easier to be good if someone believes in you and expects you to be good.)
See mistakes as steppingstones
Everyone makes mistakes. Parents can’t expect saints from sinners like themselves. Let your teens know that you’re a sinner too, and you also have to learn from your mistakes. Young people make a lot of mistakes, and they feel bad about them, but don’t rub it in. Try to help them be glad for the chance to learn such valuable lessons early in life. Look for the good that can be drawn from each situation, and help them look for the good. If you look for the good in everything, including them, they will see a lot of good in you.
Let them row their boat while you cheer them on
Try to help and encourage your teens in those areas that are strengths in their lives, but don’t push too hard. You might want them to have a certain education or special training; you might want them to have what you missed. But there comes a time to put aside your ideas and look at what your teen wants and is able to do. Pushing can be perceived as overriding her will and her rights. Your idea may be the best for her, it may be her area of talent, but she likes to feel it is her choice what talent she wants to develop, a part of her inner joy and development.
It is hard to change your teens without changing yourself. There may seem to be no way to break through to them. They know you too well as their parent and have their guard up to protect themselves from your “parenting.” But when you come to them as a friend, they will not be as closed. If you approach them as someone who loves them and cares for them, as someone who sees them as a person, that is what they want. That respect, recognition, support and understanding means a lot to them. Those are the building blocks that make them more secure in their march to manhood or womanhood.
Excerpted from "Parenteening" by Derek and Michelle Brookes. © Aurora Productions. Photo courtesy of Activated! magazine.
I can’t forget a particularly dreary, rainy Saturday several years ago. The kids had not been able to go outside all day, and they were definitely starting to get on each other’s nerves. I had sidetracked them, separated them, and even secluded them in attempts to maintain some modicum of peace and tranquility. By the time dinner rolled around, everyone was in a lousy mood. The griping and complaining didn’t stop when they came to the table. I turned the radio on and tuned it to an oldies station, trying to liven the mood a little, but even that didn’t seem to help.
Then one of the kids had the audacity to make a very disparaging comment about my cooking abilities. The gist of it had to do with the fact that if they had to go to school to learn to read and write, perhaps I should have to go to school to learn to cook. I don’t recall who said it, but I do remember that things grew very tense as everyone waited for my response.
For the first few seconds, I was hurt. Then … I started to laugh.
“Well, you’re right. I might not be able to cook, but I sure can dance,” I exclaimed, and started jiving to the rock-and-roll song that had just come on the radio. (I am a notoriously lousy dancer!) Soon four little boys were twisting all over the kitchen floor and up on their chairs. Everyone cracked up and we boogied together until the song was over. I promised everyone ice cream if they ate all their broccoli—and my husband promised to do the dishes if I stopped dancing. Somehow the complaints vanished, and we finished our meal. Every last morsel.
Joy is something we can learn. It is a decision we can make deep inside our souls—a decision to look at the positive side. The bright side. The crazy side of a situation rather than dwell on the darkness. …
I want my children’s memories to verify without a shadow of a doubt that I had a fun time raising them. … I want them to recall with joy all the times I made them smile and all the traditions, games, and memories that we shared together.--Gwendolyn Mitchell Diaz
My good intentions to have tea time alone with my [older] daughters were thwarted [on] the first day. Apparently one of the little children had gotten wind of the plans for a tea party. Of course, they were sure they would be invited for tea. Our tea for three ended up being tea for the whole tribe. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but the tea party turned out to be one of those special moments for all of us. Briana showed us how mannerly she could be when she said in her sweetest voice ever, “This tea is delightful. May I please have some more?”
Even the boys got in on the act. (They never want to be left out of anything.) There they sat, six little children around the table drinking tea with their pinkies extended.
Memories are different than traditions. Although both can be intertwined, traditions are carried on, but memories are carried within. Someday when my children are watching their own children have tea time, I wonder if they will get a far-off look in their eyes as they drift back to memories of pinkies and raspberry leaf tea? Will smiles creep across their faces, as if they have a special secret? That is really what memories are … special secrets.
Will they remember the Christmas Mom spent hundreds of dollars on gifts? Or will they only remember the day after Christmas when she made snow angels with them?
Will they remember a kitchen full of dirty dishes? Or will they think of all those meals with homemade whole wheat bread every time they smell fresh bread?
Will they remember that they had ground beef every Tuesday? Or will they remember the day every meal was blue? I still remember when my mom made green mashed potatoes, and I must have only been two or three.--Terri Camp
There’s a special relationship between a dad and a daughter, something God designed on purpose, I think. It’s not lost on me that of all of the names God could have asked us to call Him, we most often refer to Him as “Father.” I think that’s because He has the same kind of relationship in mind for us that I had in mind for my kids. I think a father’s job, when it’s done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children’s lives, and whisper, “Where do you want to go?”
Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.”--Bob Goff
Success as a parent comes through doing your best, giving your all, pouring into your children, and trusting Me for the outcome.
The wisdom you have imparted never goes to waste. It doesn’t go down the drain. It doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t ever come to naught.
Some things in life are never wasted—things like love, My Word, spiritual input, spiritual training, time spent reaching out to others, and especially time spent pouring into children.
By pouring into your children, you’re giving your children things that will never grow old, things that will never fade away—living gifts that will always be a part of their lives, even if they lie dormant for a time. The gifts you give of love, time, training, and truth are permanent parts of your children’s lives that they will never lose.--Jesus, speaking in prophecy
There are going to be times in the day-to-day routine of parenting when you feel overwhelmed by situations and circumstances. The baby’s crying, your eight-year-old won’t do her homework, your teenager’s stereo is shaking the house, your toddler didn’t make it to the potty in time—and your dinner guests will be here any minute! You feel pushed to the brink.
Every parent faces days like this. You’re not alone. And you’re not alone in a greater sense: Jesus is right there with you. He understands, and He waits with encouragement and solutions. If you have the opportunity, talking with someone else—maybe your spouse or a friend—can help you see things differently, calm your spirit, and give you a chance to pray together for the Lord’s help. You can even ask your children to pray with you. Their faith and simple prayers, even of your youngest, can be a wonderful encouragement.
Whatever you do, don’t give up! Don’t give in to feelings of frustration and discouragement. Shoot up a prayer and ask Jesus to give you power for the hour and grace for the space—and He will. Ask Him to help you see your children as He sees them, to see what they are going to become. He will help you view the situation optimistically and with hope. The outlook may be bleak, but the “uplook” (looking up to Jesus) is always bright.
Because children are a reflection of their parents, it’s very easy to get discouraged and feel that you have failed when one or more of your children isn’t doing well in some area. But remember they’re also God’s children, and they are a work in progress—just like you are. “It is God who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
All He expects is that you try your best, give them your love, and leave the rest up to Him. Now that doesn’t mean you should just throw up your hands in despair, let “God take care of it,” and quit when the going gets rough. He probably intends for you to be part of His solution. You need to find out from Him what He wants you to do—and do it; then put the rest in His hands and let Him do what you can’t do.--Derek and Michelle Brookes
Compilation courtesy of Anchor.
By Dina Ellens
I didn’t appreciate it much when I was younger, but looking back now, I realize the influence my father’s faith in God has had on me. I have fond memories of standing next to his (at the time) towering 6-foot frame, listening to him wholeheartedly singing hymns in church.
My family was from Holland, and my father’s favorite songs were in Dutch. After leaving home and striking out on my own, one particular song would come back to me, especially when I was feeling discouraged or worried. Roughly translated, it goes like this:
A little ship under Jesus’ care
With the emblem of the cross flying there.
It rescues all in need,
Even though the sea stands tall and high
And the storms do threaten nigh.
We have God’s Son on board,
And safety in His ward.
This song connects to memories of an adventure from my childhood:
It was 1953, and my parents had decided to emigrate from the Netherlands to the United States. We crossed the Atlantic on an old ocean freighter that had been converted to carry passengers.
My two brothers and I loved the thrill of being on board a big ship. We spent our days exploring and in no time made friends with all the crew members. I was only four years old, but I can remember the ship’s smell of oil and tar mixed with a sea breeze, and it still fills me with the same feelings of adventure and excitement I felt the day we boarded the freighter in Rotterdam.
Just how much of an adventure we were in for, we had no idea. After several days, our ship was caught in a storm near the Sargasso Sea, at the center of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. The stormy turbulence churned up the abundant floating mats of an alga called sargassum, which then got tangled around our ship’s propellers. The ship suddenly lurched to one side, knocking over passengers and furniture. Thankfully, no one in my family was injured, but with the propellers rendered useless, our ship bobbed helplessly in the stormy ocean.
My father took the three of us children to our cabin and tucked us into bed. I can better understand now what thoughts must have been going through his mind, as he thought of his young family getting caught in these treacherous waters where so many ships and crew members have been lost. Instead of caving in to fear, though, my father prayed with us and sang that particular hymn. Even though the waves were tossing our ship, and we were lost and directionless in the stormy night, I never felt frightened.
In the morning, the sea was calm once again, and the crew was able to make radio contact with the nearest port. We soon welcomed the sight of a sturdy black tugboat chugging in our direction. The tug pulled our huge but helpless freighter to the harbor at Newport News, Virginia, where it stayed in dry dock for two weeks for repairs.
My four-year-old mind retained some memories of the event, such as the ship’s sudden lurch that made me lose my balance and roll under some furniture, and especially the secure feeling I felt as my father prayed and sang so reassuringly.
My father taught us faith by his example of trusting God no matter what circumstances looked like. Whenever life’s problems have seemed large and threatening like the waves of that stormy sea, I’ve sung that little song and have never failed to feel encouraged and reminded of my father’s faith in the midst of the storm.
Courtesy of Activated magazine. Used with permission.
By a father of three exceptional children
I have been a special needs parent for over a decade and something that I learned along the way is that despite my very best efforts, at the end of the day, I’m only human. I get frustrated, overwhelmed, and on occasion say and do the wrong thing.
One of the things that happens quite often to special needs parents is that the demand on us simply exceeds the resources we have available, be it emotional, physical, or financial. This demand is constant in many cases, and the strain over time becomes more and more difficult to carry. The stress can really take its toll.
I feel that as special needs parents, we often don’t give ourselves enough credit or cut ourselves enough slack. Speaking for myself only, I have a tendency to be overly critical of myself, especially when I feel I’m failing at something, which is honestly, quite often. However, in reality, I’m failing to remember that I’m doing or trying to do things every day that most people simply couldn’t handle. We tend to become so accustomed to everything that we often focus more on our perceived losses or defeats than we do on our successes and victories.
One of the things that I have always encouraged people to do is share their feelings. Venting, or expressing what we are going through, is something that is extremely important in special needs parenting. Again, speaking only for myself, I’m under constant and unforgiving pressure. These pressures can range from health or behavioral issues to simply trying to make ends meet. Some of this pressure I put on myself, but most of it is inherent to special needs parenting in general.
There are times that my kids drive me crazy and I swear that my head is going to explode. For a long time this was like a double-edged sword. I would be so incredibly stressed out, overwhelmed, and frustrated. On top of that, I would feel an extreme sense of guilt for being stressed out, overwhelmed, and frustrated. The kids had no control over most of their behaviors, but I had this idea that, as their father, I was supposed to have this never-ending supply of patience. Instead I was always “a day late and a dollar short.”
There were times that I was so far gone that I would go through a drive-thru to pick up dinner and when asked, “Can I take your order?”, I would answer, “I’ll take some sanity with a side order of patience and some peace and quiet for desert…oh…and…supersize that.” Apparently, this kind of stuff is not on the menu…anywhere! Trust me, I’ve tried everywhere. You can ask my wife. She was always mortified when I would place my order.
Then one day, it hit me. I’m not sure how or why this happened, but I realized that I didn’t have to feel guilty for being frustrated, overwhelmed, and stressed out by my kids or their behavior. I guess I had felt like if I admitted that I was frustrated or overwhelmed by the challenges associated with raising three boys with special needs, that it somehow reflected poorly on them, or that I loved them less. I didn’t want anyone to think that about my kids because, while challenging, they are totally awesome, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.
Admitting frustration with those challenges, or even with any or all of my kids, doesn’t mean they are bad and it certainly doesn’t mean that I somehow love them any less. What admitting this did mean however, was that I was human. I learned that not only was it normal to feel these things, but it was also healthy. This was such a powerful realization for me, and it changed my perspective considerably. I discovered that acknowledging these feelings, and even embracing them, provided a much-needed sense of relief. The relief really kicked in when I became comfortable enough with these feelings to not only admit them to myself, but share them publicly as well. While that may not appeal to everyone, and understandably so, it helped me to keep myself centered.
I think that this is something particularly difficult for fathers. Society tells us that we are supposed to be almost emotionless and not feel these things and if as a man, you actually do have these feelings, God forbid you ever admit it.
Look, we are human beings living in very difficult situations. These situations very often require sacrifice to the nth degree. Feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or even resentful is completely normal, at least in my opinion. I also think that admitting these things is not a sign of weakness or even bad parenting. In fact, I would argue that it shows great courage and a deep unconditional love for our kids. Honestly, no one likes admitting things like this, but in doing so we get a better understanding of our limitations and ourselves.
As far as I’m concerned, this helps to make me a better parent, and speaking for myself, I need all the help I can get.
Article courtesy of Motivated magazine. Used with permission. Photo by David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
What is unconditional love? It's just what the phrase implies—loving a person without any prior conditions, because of who the person is and not because of what the person does.--Zig Ziglar
Exceptional children are just that—exceptions. The vast majority of our children are not dazzlingly brilliant, extremely witty, highly coordinated, tremendously talented, or universally popular! They are just plain kids with oversized needs to be loved and accepted as they are.--James Dobson
Comparing yourself or your child from an analytical or critical point of view and wishing your child was this or that can steal your happiness, your inspiration, and your peace of mind and contentment, not to mention the effect it will have on your child.
Children remember things very clearly and are directly affected by their parents’ attitude and how their parents feel and think about them. So if you’re constantly speaking faith and positive things about your child, either to him or to others, and if you’re thinking positive things about your child, this will have a good, faith-building, positive effect on your child, and he’ll likely become more like what you think of him and expect from him. But if you are thinking or speaking negatively about your child, either directly or indirectly, it can make him think negatively about himself and hinder his happiness and self-esteem, his performance, and the way he sees himself. Faith begets more faith; positive attitudes foster more positive attitudes in both yourself and those around you. It often takes showing faith in someone to bring out the best in them.--Jesus, speaking in prophecy
The spirit of approval means that you love your child even when he resists you or is in an ugly mood. He must know that his personal worth is not based on beauty, brains, or behavior, but on the simple fact that he is a person created by God.--Dan Benson4
To build a relationship of love and respect, you must remember that your children respond to you according to the way they feel about you. If those feelings are ones of love and respect, you will receive obedient, loving responses from the children because that is what they want to do. … There's no real unity without respect.--Zig Ziglar
Children thrive on praise. It's more important to praise a child for his good works and his good behavior than it is to scold him for his bad behavior. Always accentuate the positive.--David Brandt Berg
Ways to show love and respect to children
* Don't dismiss your child's feelings. Respond with love.
* Don't command your child and expect him to come to attention without so much as an explanation. Approach him respectfully and lovingly when you need to ask a favor—trying to be sensitive and coming across with a considerate and sweet spirit.
* Make eye contact with your child, and go down to your child's level when talking to her; for example, when you're telling her something or passing on instruction.
* Take a little bit more of your time to slow down and really tune in to your child. Treat your child's ideas as important. Don't quickly shoot them down. If the idea is unreasonable, even though your child might not understand all the whys and wherefores, try to explain as much as you can.
* Don't make fun of a child when he’s made a mistake or done something more on the silly side. This can really hurt his feelings. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't teach your child to learn to laugh things off when things go wrong, but pray for discernment, because sometimes your child may just need a moment of understanding.
* When your child needs correction, help her not to feel embarrassed by correcting her as privately as the situation warrants.
* Find a way to connect with each of your children individually.
* Show your children that they're important to you by how you treat them. Give your children the same level of attention that you expect them to give you.
* When your child comes to tell you something, stop and listen. Give her your full attention and respond to what she is saying. Don't listen halfway, while thinking about something else and continuing to do what you're doing.
* Stop and acknowledge your child.--Maria Fontaine
Encourage your children’s unique qualities and characteristics:
Know each child well as an individual. You can't help a child build confidence around his inherent gifts and talents unless you come to know what those gifts and talents are. Two ways to learn: (1) In private chats with the child, time spent together watching and appreciating; and (2) in organized time, spent as husband and wife, discussing each child, sharing perceptions, taking notes, discovering together more about the personality and individual character of each child.
Genuinely respect each child and his own gifts. Our children are human beings, deserving not only our love but our respect. With this thought in mind, sometimes it becomes a bit easier to (1) show an added measure of faith in them after any kind of failure; (2) discuss our own failures with them and tell them what we learned; (3) praise their accomplishments lavishly and honestly, particularly accomplishments in areas where we perceive special aptitude; and (4) never criticize or tear down the children personally. Make sure they still know our total love for them. Never criticize in public—praise in public, correct in private.
[Teach] independence, self-reliance, responsibility at an early age.Confidence and its joy tie directly into being able to do useful things. Each child should have a job in the family, for the family—particularly daily or weekly jobs—for which he is praised and made to feel very able and very important, very much a part of the family.
Help the children to see what their own unique gifts are—and that these gifts are as good as anyone else's.--Linda and Richard Eyre
Your children depend on you to be an example of My love to them in a way that they can understand, grasp‚ comprehend, and feel. If you don't show them My love, how will they know that I love them? You are a manifestation of My love for them. Children are fragile in their emotions, even those who don't seem to show it as much, and I want to show them that I love them, that I care for them, and that I want to be close to them and do special things for them. Your love manifested in time spent with them is one of the biggest ways that a child feels My love through you. And just as I love you so dearly, so do I love them—more than you can imagine.--Jesus, speaking in prophecy
Courtesy of http://anchor.tfionline.com/post/love-builds-children/. Photo by Stenly Lam / Flickr
My husband’s grandma, Nana Mae, was someone who never lost sight of the beauty around her. There wasn’t a time you were with her that she didn’t compliment you, or tell you how pretty something was.
I’ll never forget the time Mike and I drove her to Los Angeles for Christmas. We were at a gas station along our drive on I-5 when Nana suddenly pointed her finger out the window and said, “Beautiful.”
I looked to see what she was talking about…
All I saw was a green garbage truck pulled over near the gas station.
That’s a beautiful green,” she said, shaking her head. She was looking right at the truck.
She was talking about a garbage truck, but still, she saw beauty in it.
As moms, we can choose whether or not we see the beauty, too. We can look for the beautiful right in the middle of what sometimes feels like the garbage of our days—the messes all over the house, the kids’ arguing, the crazy running around.
And we play a huge role in whether or not we set a “beautiful” tone for our families.
Are you carrying the beauty? Or are you seeing the garbage truck (like I did) instead of its rich, green color?
Are you catching the memories that are being made right in front of you, or are you losing your patience and longing for just-one-minute-alone?
Are you savoring today, or do you just want time to speed up so your kids grow into the next phase when, hopefully, things will be easier?
Are you stopping to love and soak in these moments of being a [parent] to a newborn, a six-month-old, a two-year-old, or even a teen?
It’s sometimes hard to do (believe me, I know), but that is where the real beauty is—in those intentional moments of soaking it in, in those choices to appreciate and marvel at all that comes with being a [parent].
When we do, we find it.
We find the beautiful.
Wishing you many beautiful moments today!--Adapted from Genny Heikka
Adapted from http://www.mamapedia.com/voices/finding-the-beautiful. Photo by D Sharon Pruitt via Flickr.com.
We can change the world by improving the lives of those around us, through deeds of kindness and consideration, and by showing faith in them. Here are some practical tips to help get you started changing your part of the world, one heart at a time.
Build up excellence. Try to think of at least one thing that you find outstanding in your child, and then make it your task to let them know. Don’t be shy; they won’t get tired of hearing it. What you’re doing is building confidence in that one area, and as they gain confidence, they will start to improve in other areas as well.
Share the responsibility. Give your children responsibility in the areas in which they are strong. Make them feel trusted, needed, and appreciated.
Appreciate who they are. Appreciating your children for what they do is important, and children like to be thanked and acknowledged for it, but being appreciated for a personal trait feels a lot nicer than only being appreciated for the outcome of that trait.
Slow down. It takes time to see people in a new light. Go slower in your interactions with your child and give God a chance to reveal His perspective.
Let go of the past. Everyone dislikes being labeled or put in a box. Be willing to see who your child is today or the potential of what they can be tomorrow.
Adapted from article in Activated magazine.