Top Tips for Giving Your Kids Positive Feedback
"Children need love, especially when they do not deserve
it." Harold Hulbert
Children respond to the world according to their perception
and experience of it and very often it's not the same as
your perception or experience of the world! So this is
where arguments, rows and conflicts begin because their map
of the world doesn't fit in with yours.
Yet a child's map of the world can sometimes make you think
again and catch you by surprise.
There's a true story that my uncle used to tell when he was
a policeman. One afternoon he was sitting in his police van
with his dog Molly when he noticed a little girl staring at
them from across the road. The little girl came up and
asked him "Is that a dog in your van?" To which my uncle
replied it certainly was. The little girl looked really
puzzled and confused and scratched her head and said, "So
what's he done to get arrested?"
It's all about perceptions!
When teaching and guiding children it's really helpful to
step into their shoes and socks for a minute or two and
really see the world from their eyes, hear the world from
their ears and feel how the situation feels to them. As it
shifts your perception of the event or the situation and
helps you be more tolerant and understanding.
No matter how honourable your intentions are for your kids
it depends on how the message is received by your child
What you say, and how you say it, influences how well you
are understood. It also affects how others respond to you.
So it's helpful to think about the words you use, your tone
of voice, your body language and the vibes you're giving
Your Checklist: Giving Positive Feedback
- Children pick up more from what you don't say than what
you do so be mindful of your attitude and mood.
- Have the end in mind and to know what you actually want
to achieve by disciplining, guiding, or teaching them.
- Have your child's best interest at heart before you talk
with them and respect their age and maturity.
- Be in a positive, relaxed centred place yourself before
talking or chastising them as this takes the emotional
charge out of the whole thing and keeps you firmly in
- Ask yourself "Is this moving me further towards the long
term relationship I want to build with my child or is it
moving me further away?"
- "How am I making my child feel cherished, especially now
when they're misbehaving?" - Remember to share feelings
rather than blame and say things like "When you...... I
feel....... because ....."
- Always try to put forward suggestions rather than giving
- Think about the timing of when you want to give your kids
feedback and ask yourself when it's a good time to raise a
topic ' maybe after the immediate issue is over, and not at
stressful times like dinnertime and bedtime - "Strike when
the iron is cold" is on a post -it note in our house !
- Hold back from hurtful words, name calling or negative
references, bringing up the past or making comparisons to
your other children as it diminishes your child's self
- And finally ask yourself "What can my child learn from
this experience?" and get your child, no matter how old
they are, to ask themselves, "What did I learn from this?"
as this will be a far more empowering experience and useful
lifetime habit to get into.
We all make mistakes and childhood is all about are
learning so be patient with your kids.
The most important thing in life is to help your children
learn from their mistakes and to take the valuable lessons
from them so they don't keep on making the same mistakes
over and over again. Help your kids to see feedback as
something positive moving them forward into fine tuning
their life not as criticism which is disempowering,
judgemental and negative which will forever hold them back.
Teach them to dust themselves off, pick themselves up and
have another go.
Sue Atkins is a Parent Coach and Author of "Raising Happy
Children for Dummies" one in the famous black and yellow
series. She has a collection of Parenting Made Easy
Toolkits available from her website. To find out more about
her work and to receive her free monthly newsletter packed
full of practical tips and helpful advice for bringing up
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