Children, little bodies filled with so much passion and imagination for life. Their minds are blank slates that slowly become filled with memories and lessons from their everyday experiences. Think of the first time you felt happiness, anger, embarrassment, or even courage. Each experience has ultimately shaped them to become the person that they eventually are. Children however have a very different way of thinking compared to adults. Something that motivates you, might not have the same effect on your child. That’s why it is extremely vital to keep in mind that something that might work for you, won't necessarily have the same effect on your child.
I’m sure you all remember when you were a child and you did something wrong like getting a bad grade on a test. Your first thought would go to all of the trouble you would be in. While it is important for children to understand there are consequences for certain actions and behaviors, it is more important to emphasize, place focus and reward a child when they do something right. Now pause for a second and think back to when you did do something good, like created something new, or got a good grade on a test, the positive reinforcement you received. That fuzzy good feeling you felt, that you began to crave. As parents, you want to make sure you develop a relationship with your child in which they understand that you are the authoritative figure, but at the end of the day, you are their biggest supporter, mentor, and guide. While everyone makes mistakes I cannot help but stress one key factor that makes a huge difference in children’s lives.
Positive reinforcement. The power of positive reinforcement goes a long way. It is important to always praise your child when they have done something right instead of focusing on reprimanding them when they have done something wrong. Children look forward to that positive reinforcement because it makes them feel good, and causes them to want to perform well. While in the beginning, negative reinforcement might do the trick, over a long period of time it will only push your child further away from you and will not create long-term effects of habit change. A case study completed by Maneesh Sheti discusses exactly how this push-pull connection works.
Regardless of what the situation might be. Always remember to give praise and reward your children where it is due. As a parent, you must always remember to be encouraging and understand that you are your children’s biggest role model. They want to grow up and be like you. So make yourself someone that is approachable, someone that your child knows they can turn to when they need help and support.