When I logged in to Facebook the other day, I was pleasantly surprised to see a message from a local acquaintance. She was writing to let me know that my son had done something nice for her the other day; he had held the door for her as she was arriving at the school with her younger children and very much had her arms full. Her brief message gave me a big grin.
I felt a huge
welling of pride for my son, and a whole lot of thankfulness toward my acquaintance. And I resolved to notice good things that kids were doing in my community - and tell their parents.
Different points of view
As parents it can be too easy to see the negative stuff with our kids. When we're working on various issues with each of our children - when we are in the thick of the challenging stuff as parents
- it can be hard to see the bigger picture. It can be hard to see that things are clicking, that things are going right.
I'd been working on courtesy and more selfless thinking with my son at home. I felt like my efforts were slow and my son seemed particularly resistant to what I consider certain appropriate actions
at home. Hearing that my efforts were perhaps not in vain was a huge relief. It felt good to be able to mention to my son at the table that night that I'd heard a good thing about his actions. We
both had smiles on our faces, and the rest of the evening (and the evening's behaviors) seemed to step up a notch. While I was careful not to overpraise, too, that positive reinforcement was
something both of us needed.
Reinforcement all around
I'm sure there are kids and moms all around you that could use a little positive reinforcement. Parenting is so thankless, and sometimes it's so hard to know if we're doing anything right.
Anything! When our kids are demonstrating that they are learning the lessons we are teaching, it's tremendous reassurance. I love hearing that my kids are doing good things, that they are doing
right things, and other moms love to hear it, too.
How you let a mom know their child did good is up to you. You could send an email, make a phone call, or even jot a note and put it in the snail mail. You can stop her in the hall during the open
house and quickly say, "Your daughter was so nice to show me the way to the science lab." Five seconds is all it takes.
Did you know there is a right way and a wrong way to praise kids? Find out the difference here.
For more of our Monday mom challenge series: