Thursday, 16 May 2013
Practising some positive reinforcement
struggling with a very defiant four-year old and things have been a lot better of late. Around the time I had written that post, I was reading something that suggested parents should remember to tell their children when they like the way they have behaved, to encourage that good behaviour. It makes sense but I had not really ever thought about doing it on a regular basis.
As with many things in life, we tend to take the good things for granted and focus our attention and energy on the bad or difficult things. The result is, we can sometimes let much of the positivity around us pass us by.
Whilst as parents, we are generally quick to praise and encourage our children when they are learning a new skill or trying really hard at something for the first time, once they have grasped it, we tend not to acknowledge it again. I decided I would try to compliment, thank or remark on my son's good behaviour or actions just once a day even. It could only have a good effect, I would be opening my eyes to some of the everyday things I take as a given and I'm sure my son would enjoy hearing some positive feedback from me.
Mornings had been a struggle with my son waking and moaning about still being tired and general grumpiness permeated the air! We had been trying to encourage a happier start to the day and I realised he had stopped the moaning and was being pleasant, getting himself dressed and chatting nicely to us most mornings. I thanked him for his efforts and told him what a great difference it made to everyone's day.
I told him how I appreciated him taking his cereal bowl from the table to the sink after breakfast, thanked him for not moaning about going up the hill home from nursery even though he's tired, for playing nicely with his sister, eating his dinner all up, being good about getting ready for bed.... Each time I said something like this to him, he responded with, 'thank you'! I could see it made him feel good, more valued maybe and of course, encouraged him to keep doing what he was doing in those situations.
I felt better too. I recognised that by bringing in some extra positivity to our daily lives, it made the day that bit better or maybe just made my son and I feel happier. I think that is what's called positive reinforcement! If you're not already doing a bit of embracing the good actions and behaviour in your children, I'd strongly recommend you give it a try. See how it affects your relationship, your parenting and the response and behaviour of your children. I'm not claiming it's the answer to all parenting challenges but I do think it helps create a nice bit of positivity in each and every day, which can only be a good thing.
Do you naturally do some positive reinforcement with your children or like me, is it something you had heard of but not directly applied to yourself and your children?