Children, like all human beings, behave better when they feel good about themselves and the world around them. As a social species, we all need to be seen, heard, understood, loved, and connected. When those needs are met – when our hearts are content – we all do better.
Think about a few times when you weren't on your best behavior. Maybe you yelled at your children or said some hurtful words to your partner. Chances are, one or more of those needs weren't being met for you at that time. As parents, we can proactively foster good behavior by being intentional about seeing, hearing, understanding, loving, and connecting with our kids.
Stop and See
Take some time every day to really look at your child. Notice her trying to do things on her own. Notice how he shared a toy with his sibling. Comment on what it is that you see.
“I saw you give your truck to your friend to play with. That was so kind.”
“I love the outfit your picked out for yourself today! What nice colors!”
We are so quick to see and comment on what they do wrong. If we can get into the habit of being just as quick at seeing and commenting on what they do well, we will see them blossom.
Children chatter all day long, and believe me, I know sometimes you just want to tune them out. Their latest video game achievement or another rendition of “Let It Go” isn't the most exciting for us to hear, but it's important to them. Take the time to hear what they have to say, because you'll really want to be in the loop in a few years, and you want them to know you'll listen.