Okay, time for some self-disclosure. I am the father of 3 lovely children. They really are great kids and I truly am blessed. However, they are still kids. Let me set the stage.
My 3 kids are age 8, 6, and 3. All of them have chores to do because we want to teach them the value of working hard and taking responsibility in helping with our family’s needs. My middle child is responsible for gathering up laundry and sorting it into the baskets. One particular morning, she did just that, and I was pretty impressed. Did I give her any positive feedback? ABSOLUTELY not! Sigh. I realized in hindsight that I missed a great opportunity to tell her how proud I was.
In all fairness, I was working on paperwork in my office at home. My daughter cleaned out the pockets of the pants that I had been wearing before changing. She brought my wallet, keys, change, etc. and laid them on the table beside me. I said, “Thank you,” and quickly dismissed her. As I glanced over to see all of the things she left on the table, I noticed that she had not brought some important pieces of paper to me. So, I called her back and asked her what she did with the papers. She said, “Oh, I threw those in the trash.” I came a little unglued and my tone was certainly less than kind. The next thing that came out of my mouth was, “Never throw things away that you get out of my pockets!” She went to the trash on her own and brought the pieces of paper that she had thrown to me. I thought to myself, "That took some initiative." However, I didn't tell her that. Yet, another missed opportunity for positive feedback.
A little bit later, I walked in to the laundry room, and my belt was in the floor buckled nicely in the shape of a 6-year-old girl’s hoola-hoop. Again, I scolded, “My belt goes in my bedroom and not on the floor in the laundry room!”
In hindsight, I realized that I never told my daughter how proud I was that she was doing her chores. I didn't share with her how proud I was of the initiative that she took. Instead, I criticized the way she was doing it. She threw away what seemed to be trash, which is actually pretty reasonable. However, at the moment it wasn’t convenient for me. As parents, we often get busy and offering anything positive is not the first thing on our mind. For me, I am often working on a deadline, partially because I procrastinate. It’s not like this is my daughter’s fault, but when I get stressed, it can be so easy to overlook the good that my kids do. Can you relate? I encourage you to work this week on finding opportunities to give your family more positive feedback. Your child with feel more appreciated and your relationship with them will be stronger for it!
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