We’ve been reading about the ability of praise to strengthen and build relationships in the book Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends. Sometimes I think that I’m learning more from that book than my children.
Children naturally long for their parent’s approval and we can greatly frustrate them by not giving it or by always having a standard that is too high for them to reach. High standards are good, but letting our children know how proud we are of them right where they are is an important and powerful tool to encourage them as they reach toward those standards.
Letting our children know that we are proud of them and telling them about the positive traits that God has given to them will encourage them to continue to work to please us. Praise has the power to help build a better relationship and help you to gain the hearts of your children. When this happens your children will go to amazing lengths to please you (and by God’s grace the Lord also). This makes life especially beautiful.
This week I left Kaitlin (13) at home to babysit some of the children while I ran errands. I came home to find that, during her free time, she had moved all the furniture and mopped (on her hands and knees) the entryway and living room simply because she knows that her mommy loves sparkling clean floors. Having your child’s heart is powerful. Praise is powerful.
If our children don’t find approval and acceptance from us (or if they aren’t with us enough for our approval to matter), they will look and find it elsewhere and often the ‘elsewhere’ admires traits that God does not find admirable.
Being an encourager does not come naturally to me. This is something that I’ve been working on since our children were all little. I make a conscious effort to encourage and praise my children often and to let them know how very proud I am of them. While I am still good at finding areas that need to be improved, I’m much better at praising my children for their strengths and telling them how thankful I am that God gave them to me.
So in case there are others like me to whom praise does not come naturally, I thought I’d share some of my ideas and practical tips for becoming a better encourager.
Part 2: Practicing Praise