Encouraging Your Children

By Karen Larsen

A father reading to his young daughter, who is seated next to him
  • Encouragement is the process of focusing on your child’s assets and strengths in order to build their self-confidence and feelings of worth.
  • Focus on what is good about the child or situation. See the positive.
  • Accept your children as they are. Don’t make your love or acceptance dependent on their behaviour.
  • Have faith in your children so they can come to believe in themselves.
  • Let your child know their worth. Recognize improvement and effort, not just accomplishments.
    Respect your children. It will lay the foundation of self-respect.
  • Praise is reserved for things well done. It implies a spirit of competition. Encouragement is given for effort and improvement. It implies a spirit of co-operation.
  • The most powerful forces in human relationships are expectations. We can influence a person’s behaviour by changing our expectations of the person.
  • Lack of faith in children helps them anticipate failure.
  • Standards that are too high invite failure and discouragement.
  • Avoid subtle encouragement of competitions between brothers and sisters.
  • Avoid using discouraging words and actions.
  • Avoid tacking qualifiers to your words of encouragement. Don’t “give with one hand and “take” away with another”.
  • The sounds of encouragement are words that build feelings of adequacy:
    • “I like the way you handled that.”
    • “I know you can handle that.”
    • “I appreciate what you did.”
    • “You’re improving.”
    • “It looks as if you worked very hard on that.”