Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Get Better Behavior from Your Words

Early in my parenting career, I thought I was being a great, positive mom when I smiled and said to my daughter, "Good girl" at her appropriate behavior. Later I smartened up - learning that my vague comment did little good - what's "good" about a good girl? I learned that naming her cooperative behavior was more helpful and taught her which behavior was pleasing. For example, "I like the way you picked up toys" was more specific than "good girl."

"I like the way you work quietly" helped my daughter repeat her quiet behavior more than if I'd said, "good girl." Using words to describe her appropriate behavior made a healthier, positive mom/daughter relationship. Plus our home was more positive because she knew what appropriate behaviors to repeat.

In your daily discipline, remember to use specific words to encourage a child's appropriate behavior. For example, it's more helpful to say, "I like the way you pick up toys," or "Thanks for sitting down," rather than, "Good girl!" The latter is vague and doesn't give the child helpful feedback. Kids need to hear what they do right so they can repeat it.

In your daily discipline, acknowledge your child with comments that are specific and help your child learn what's appropriate behavior, then you'll see better behavior.

©Copyright, 2011 Brenda Nixon. Need a long-lasting Baby Shower gift? Give The Birth to Five Book, available on Amazon

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