The Power of Praise

A positive approach to encouraging good behavior

Right now, both of my older sons are mad at me?one because I grounded him for coming home late and the other because I made him vacuum the living room carpet twice (he missed a few, make that many, spots). He says I treat him like Cinderella.

I admit, I have been pretty negative toward my sons lately. As much as I want to say something positive to them, sometimes I honestly can?t think of anything. Disregarding curfew and shoddy vacuuming aren?t at the top of my list of "things to praise my kids for."

But I realize that even kids who exhibit irresponsible behavior need to be encouraged.

Author and speaker Dr. Howard Hendricks says, "When a child lives with parents who believe in her, she instinctively holds a higher view of herself." Research supports this. One well-known study revealed that when teachers have a positive perception of their students, those students score higher on IQ tests, even if their abilities are no different from those of their peers. In another study, research showed that juvenile delinquents who had been conditioned by excessive criticism couldn?t even recognize praise when it was offered.

It?s easy to commend a child when he brings home straight A?s, does his chores with a smile and asks for second helpings of Brussels sprouts. But let?s face it: sometimes kids are moody, stubborn or lazy. While there are plenty of times when our kids shine, there are also times when they fail miserably. And that?s when parents have to reach deep inside and get inventive in order to find a reason to affirm their children.

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