Monday, March 31, 2014

Parenting Reminders

A Little Positive Feedback Goes a LONG Way

This was our third parenting discussion with Dr. Steve McFadyen-Ketchum, senior lecturer at Vanderbilt University and expert in child psychology.  We talked about spouses supporting each other and expressing gratitude toward one another.
Our parenting group met again recently and, while questions about sibling rivalry were on the agenda, it was the importance of being positive that was the real take-home message.  But here's the twist:  we need to not only find ways to catch our children being good--we need to also find ways to regularly thank our spouses for what they do.

In our previous posts here and here we mentioned the importance of being positive and specific with our children.  For instance, you might say, "Susie, thank you for the good job you did unloading the
dishwasher this morning."  It wouldn't hurt to give a high-five, two thumbs up, or do a little dance of joy with Susie--non-verbals get the message across, too.  Dr. Steve said, "Children learn most readily what is required by parents when they do something that fits the requirements and it gets noticed, commented on, and reinforced..."

We also talked about making time 4 or 5 times per week to discuss how things are going with the kids WITHOUT them present. If one of you travels a lot, this may mean regular texts or Facetime- or Skype-ing it. Whatever works--just do it!

So all of this you may have found to be true already.  But did you know that we need to also make time to be positive with our spouses?  That may mean a quick call over your lunch break to say, "Thank you for remembering John's lunch money when I forgot," or "I'm so glad you got all of the patches sewn on Mary's Brownie costume--you're the best!" or "I'm so blessed to have your help in raising these crazy kids!"  Maybe an e-mail, a note in the lunch box, a welcome home squeeze with some specific kind of thank you is what works for you as a couple.  Just make sure you do it, and do it often (Dr. Steve says 4 or 5 times per week).

Any ideas you want to add?

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