Do I focus more on my kids' positive or negative behaviors?
We do our kids a great disservice when we neglect our responsibility
of giving them feedback that challenges them to grow and to
improve. If it is our goal to raise healthy and well-balanced kids, then
giving guidance by way of well placed and well worded corrective
feedback is an important part of the task and responsibility of accomplishing
this goal. Everyone can grow and improve from being
challenged and our kids are no exception.
They will also grow and prosper emotionally in response to
their consistently hearing positive reinforcement from their parents—
even when they may not have accomplished what they set out to do. When we tell them on a regular basis how well we think
they are doing and how much we believe in them, we help them
discover and to develop what it is they have to offer. And when we
focus more on their positive behaviors and less on any of the negatives
that could be ignored, we may even see some of their negative
behaviors fade without our having to address them.
Satisfaction and contentment in a job well done do not lead
to a decreased level of motivation in our kids. In fact both actually
provide much of the motivation necessary for continuing to do
their best. This is because both feelings of contentment and satisfaction
tend to have a “short shelf-life” and in order to maintain
them both, continued effort and success is necessary.
When we stress the negative in our kids, we run the risk of
breaking their spirit by undermining their enthusiasm, energy
and excitement for life. Without intending to do so, dwelling on
and emphasizing their negative qualities rather than their positive
qualities, can lead to a pattern of perfectionist tendencies that will
interfere with their ever feeling a sense of success or accomplishment.
Alternately, undue criticism may instead lead to what I refer
to as a "fallen perfectionist" pattern of behaving. When this occurs
they may lower their own expectations and goals in order to avoid
feeling guilty for falling short.
Ed Wimberly, author of Parenting with an Attitude
1. When you were growing up did your parents focus more on
your positive or negative behaviors and efforts?
2. How did their positive (or negative) focus and feedback affect
you and your desire to achieve?
3. As a parent today, do you focus more on the negative behaviors
of your kids, or does your feedback emphasize their positive
4. Do you see your feedback having an effect on their ability to
be content and satisfied?
5. Do you ever see signs of perfectionism that may be robbing
your kids of feeling contentment and satisfaction?
6. Do you ever see possible signs of a “fallen perfectionist” in
7. What possible influence might you have on your kids and
their desire to achieve and improve, as well as their ability to