4. Foster Character Growth. Think of your words as Miracle Grow for qualities you want to see blossom. Verbalize appreciation for qualities like thoughtfulness, helpfulness, collaboration, kindness, wisdom, etc.
5. Speak to the Child’s Soul. Be willing to speak up when a quality or action is great or reflects your child’s greatness. Positive statements will reach your child deeply. Think of it as speaking to your child’s soul.
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6. Don’t Take Greatness for Granted. We are so utterly aware when things are going wrong. Be as willing to know the vast range of things that are truly great. Give expression to how grateful you are that your child is exercising these qualities of greatness.
7. Slow Down for Compliments. Remind yourself in the midst of the daily activities, to stop and drop in on your kids for a few moments each day, with the determined purpose of dropping off a few compliments while you’re there.
8. Be Present, Even When Absent. If you are away from the kids for a while, be resolved to text, write, or leave some notes of appreciation now and then.
9. Explain in Detail. Explaining what you love in moments of greatness, in appreciative detail, is so powerful. Let you heart have a voice and let it speak with the emotional beauty that expresses your deep caring and gratitude.
10. Be larcenous! Make the most of all of the above by taking the smallest evidence of goodness and amplifying it into a “federal case.” Take the seeds of rightness and nourish them by directing kind energy of appreciation toward your kids.
Just as those who make mountains out of molehills, take the smallest shred of what is right or “what isn’t wrong” and exaggerate it by describing what it reflects. Here are some examples:
“James, I appreciate that you put your plate in the sink. That shows your regard for keeping the house clean and it sets an example for your sister. That shows me your greatness of leadership, helpfulness, and respect. I really appreciate you for these qualities.”
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“Lisa, your choice to be ready for school on time shows me so much about your healthy values. It allowed you to have a healthy breakfast. It allowed us to enjoy your company before the busy day. It allowed us to appreciate your great attitude and not have to harp on you to be on time. And it allowed us to relax knowing you got your homework done early enough to get a good night’s sleep, so that you can be so wide awake so early. This shows me how mature and responsible you are, and I appreciate this greatness I see in you.”
Now go get ‘em.