Compliments and appreciations bring us closer together.
The key to an effective compliment or praise is that it be specific and focused on actions.
1. Instead of a general "Good job getting ready for school!" try
"I appreciate you quickly you got dressed and ready for school."2. Instead of "You're a good friend," try
"I noticed how kindly you cared for Anna when she felt sad, I bet it helped her feel better."Becky Bailey has a lot to say about noticing rather than praising in her book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline.
Telling a child you noticed something they did can be more powerful than saying you liked it or appreciated it, especially when you follow it up with a virtue tag, as in the following examples:
- I noticed you how you kept trying even though you were frustrated. That showed persistence.
- I noticed that you picked all your toys without me asking. That showed responsibility.
- I noticed you shared your toy with sister. That was very generous.
Noticing this way reinforces the virtue behind the action, whereas saying you like something they did can inadvertently reinforce people-pleasing.
Words have power. What we say and how we say it matters.
Verses to consider this week:
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips.
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.