As graduation season approaches and ceremonies roll by, many of us find ourselves the proud parents of truly exceptional children. But, recent studies have found that we don’t always do a good job of communicating that feeling. That’s unfortunate because when kids know their parents are proud of them the result is usually a much stronger relationship. And a stronger relationship can be important as our kids get older, want more independence and often find themselves in conflict with parental rules and regulations.
So how does one go about effectively communicating the pride that you feel for your child?
- Praise what matters.
Offering praise for things that really aren’t challenging and really aren’t much of an accomplishment ends up turning all of our praise into “white noise,” background words that don’t carry much meaning or worth and which our kids often ignore. Praise them on what counts so that your appreciation is heard and valued.
- Focus on the process, rather than simply on the outcome.
When a child is working hard and putting in extra effort, a parental praise is heard and appreciated. What you are doing is highlighting the effort and initiative of your child, rather than focusing on only the results. When we praise our kids for putting in that extra effort, it becomes a reward that reinforces the work they’re doing and makes it more likely that they will want to continue to try as hard in the future.
- Find a balance between offering too little or too much praise.
We need to recognize when a child is pushing themselves to try something new or to work a little harder. That’s the time to compliment and let your child see how pleased you are of the effort they’re making. The end result may not be a first place trophy or any measurable success, but you want your child to know you’re proud of his or her trying.
We cannot simply assume our children know we are proud, so we must learn how to effectively communicate our pride . It’s important for parents to be proud of their children and what they do. But it’s even more important that this pride is clearly communicated.
At CounselingWorks, we help families restore healthy relationships everyday. A counselor can be a great asset to help you learn to better communicate with the ones you love. Learn more about our counseling services.
This article is provided by the American Counseling Association. Visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.