We do it all the time. “Nice work! Great job! You’re so awesome!”
It’s nice to take notice and give energy to the good things our kids do. But throwing kids compliments like this without any substance is akin to throwing them popcorn when they’re hungry. It tastes good and kids want more, but it doesn’t really nourish.
If you really want a compliment to improve a child’s sense of significance and grow wisdom at the same time, give that same energy some substance. Like this:
“Hey! I watched you concentrate as you played. You were really working it and I could see your music spread joy to others — including me.”
Or, “It was amazing to watch you out there, working hard and so aware of your teammates. It’s inspiring to watch a youngster like you be such a team player.”
This sort of compliment does more than feel good. It gives clarity about how the goodness affects others. It deepens a youngster’s sense that he or she is a benefit to others.
Give it a whirl, parents. Just reading this to the end is evidence that you’re staying attentive to nourishing your kids with a sense of self worth. Keep it up! Our world needs kids like yours.
Apply it Now
- Think of a quick, “popcorn-like” compliment you tend to give your children.
- How could you strengthen it with specific observations about what they did?
- What statements could you add about your kids’ impact on themselves and others with their wise choice?