By Mutryce A. Williams
Navigating "Island" Parenting is a submission of quotes, tips and parenting advice that I have gathered over the years as a source of inspiration and as tools to deal with the daily challenges of parenting. This week’s issue focuses on providing encouragement and praise to your child. The hope is that this submission would cause you to reflect on your parenting skills and also make the journey of parenting a bit easier or brighter.
In our culture I don’t find that we are “heavy-handed” with praise and encouragement, especially when it comes to our children. I suppose there is this fallacy that we don’t want them to get too “big headed,” boastful, or even I suppose as Kohn states we don’t want them to become too dependent on praise, but as some of the following quotes state praise is indeed necessary for the development of a healthy self-esteem in young children, especially if this praise comes from their parents.
Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit: we cannot flower and grow without it.
Even though some of us may praise our children, we are guilty of other infarctions, which may nullify this praise for example a stranger may praise our children’s behaviour and instead of being gracious and saying a polite thank you, we exclaim and I must emphasize in the child’s presence, “Oh he behaving now, that’s a first, this rude pig, you don’t want to see how he behaves home, out of order and unruly.” How do you think that this makes the child feel? It not only embarrasses him or her, but it also does not reinforce his or her positive behavior. What do you think the result would be if Mommy or Daddy responds, “Thank you for your kind words, I am indeed very proud of him.” How do you think this child would feel if Mommy or Daddy shared this experience with others and told how proud he or she was when the compliment was bestowed and this was done in the child’s presence?
Words of praise, indeed, are almost as necessary to warm a child into a genial life as acts of kindness and affection. Judicious praise is to children what the sun is to flowers
. Christian Nestell Bovee
I suppose in our culture, as parents we also set very high bars/standards for our children, one of absolute perfection, and if I might say so myself the bar/standards may be so high that the child/children don’t even know what they are or if they are even close to reaching them, as there is no positive encouragement or praise along the way. For example a child may get a grade of 98% on a test, he or she proudly takes the test home to show his or her parent, and remark that he or she got the highest grade in the class, and instead of saying congratulations the parent tosses the paper aside or grunts and remarks, “It’s not a 100% I don’t even know why you are proud, when you get a 100% come back and that will be something to be proud about.” Nothing is wrong with setting high standards or goals for our children but increments of praise and words of encouragement go a long in way in assisting our children in attaining these goals.
Children Learn What They Live - Dorothy Law Neite
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child learns to feel shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement he learns confidence
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
He a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it" when things are tough.
Richard M. DeVos
Excerpt from the Poster - 100 Ways to Praise A Child!
Well done. You’re unique. What a talent. Your hard work has finally paid off. Beautiful! Remarkable. You are a winner. Simply spectacular! I respect how you did that. I knew you could do it. I am proud of you. Hurray for you. Now you’ve got it. Good choice. I see you have discovered the secret. Outstanding! Marvelous! You are on your way. Smart. You have got such talent. I like that. I appreciate that. Way to go. Nothing can stop you now. I knew you could do it. The sky is the limit. What an imagination. That is absolutely impressive. Fantastic! You are a good helper. That must have taken immense persistence and focus. That was very thoughtful of you. You showed such compassion. Look at what you have accomplished. You did that all by yourself, that is terrific. You are responsible. You have shown great improvement. You are important. I respect you. That was an outstanding performance. You brought the house down. Magnificent! You have made my day. You are growing into a fine young person. You are a good listener. Great attempt! Stupendous! Keep on trying. You will get there. Nothing is impossible. You have got what it takes. You are a great friend. You are a good person. Did you do it all by yourself? Could you explain how you were able to accomplish your task, I am really interested. When you have the time I would love for you to demonstrate how you were able to get that done. Your teacher said your performance was exceptional, this made me exceptionally proud. You are practicing good manners.
At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents. Jane D. Hull
Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise. Mary Kay Ash
"Find the good -- and praise it." Alex Hailey
Every word, facial expression, gesture, or action on the part of a parent gives the child some message about self-worth. It is sad that so many parents don't realize what messages they are sending. Virginia Satir
My parents are my backbone. Still are. They're the only group that will support you if you score zero or you score 40. Kobe Bryant
My parents taught me to never give up and to always believe that my future could be whatever I dreamt it to be. Susana Martinez
I got a lot of support from my parents. That's the one thing I always appreciated. They didn't tell me I was being stupid; they told me I was being funny. Jim Carrey
Praise your children openly, reprehend them secretly. W. Cecil
Parents need to fill a child's bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can't poke enough holes to drain it dry. Alvin Price
Self-esteem is the real magic wand that can form a child’s future. A child’s self-esteem affects every area of her existence, from friends she chooses, to how well she does academically in school, to what kind of job she gets, to even the person she chooses to marry. Stephanie Martson, The Magic of Encouragement
If a child is given love, he becomes loving ... If he's helped when he needs help, he becomes helpful. And if he has been truly valued at home ... he grows up secure enough to look beyond himself to the welfare of others. Dr Joyce Brothers, Good Housekeeping, Aug. 2010
Our children are only ever lent to us. We never know how long we will be able to keep them for. So kiss them, cuddle them, praise them and hold them tightly. But most of all... tell them that you LOVE them... Anonymous
Good things should be praised. William Shakespeare
I praise loudly. I blame softly. Catherine the Great
Mutryce A. Williams, a native of St Kitts and Nevis is the mother of 4-year-old Daniel and 3-year-old Nicholas. She not only values the many facets of West Indian parenting but also thinks that there is vast room for improvement. A former educator and a child/youth advocate, Mutryce firmly believes that children should not only be seen but heard.. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org