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.