Question 2: Encouragement
Do you encourage positive behavior habits in your teenager on a daily basis?
Encouragement is key to building confidence and a strong sense of self. Consistent encouragement helps youth feel good about themselves and gives them confidence to: try new activities, develop new friendships, explore their creativity, and tackle difficult tasks. It also helps parents promote cooperation and reduce conflict.
Underachievement in School and Daily Encouragement
- Negative example: Dad reacts to failure
- Positive example: Dad builds on success
Encouragement promotes a strong sense of self because it sends three main messages to your child:
Examples of Encouraging Words
- "I know that wasn’t easy."
- "You did such an awesome job."
- "Keep on trying."
- "You are very good at that."
- "You are learning a lot."
- "I like the way you did that."
- "I can tell you’ve been practicing."
- "It’s great to see you working so hard."
- "I’m so proud of you."
You can do it! Youth believe they can do things if parents:
- help them break a problem down into smaller parts
- remind them of their strengths and past successes
- encourage them by sharing how they have dealt with challenges
You have good ideas! Youth believe they have good ideas if parents:
- ask them to share their opinions and feelings
- listen to what they have to say
- ask them for input concerning family plans and events
- ask them for ideas to solve family problems
You are important! Youth know they are important if parents:
- remember what they have told them
- make time for them each day
- attend school functions and extracurricular activities
- let them know that they are thinking about them when they can’t be with them
- display things they have made and recognitions they receive from school or the community
Practices That are Discouraging
- Being sarcastic or negative about a child’s ability to be successful
- Comparing a child to brothers and sisters
- Taking over when a child’s progress is slow
- Reminding a child of past failures
Video: Praise for Positive Behavior
When giving praise for cooperation:
- Make it simple: “Thank you.”
- Do it right away.
- Be specific about what you like.
- Never miss an opportunity to encourage behavior or acts you would like to see repeated.
Video: Reviewing Behavior Change Plans
When reviewing behavior change plans:
- Check each step of the plan.
- Praise positive behaviors.
- Give incentives immediately.
- Remember to review the plan with your child every day.
Find information about addiction and mental health services in your area. You can search by state or zip code online or call the number.
Is it Time to Talk to Your Teen About Drug Use?
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