Positive Praise Phrase No 3

“Check you out / Check out that / those…!”

One thing I really remember from my childhood is that there was a lot of calling “Mom, Dad, look at me!”  Now that I’m a parent I’m experiencing the “Look at me!” phenomenon from the other side.

So what can I draw on from my own experience of being a child to help me respond to this situation as an adult?

Well, I can be sure that when a child calls “Look at me!” to their parent they are ALREADY proud of themselves.  They’ve done something that excites them and that they’re proud of and what they really need is for their parent to see that and to share in their excitement.

What do you currently say when your child calls to you like this?

Perhaps you say “Well done!”  Or “Good job!” or “Good cycling!” or whatever it is that your child is doing.

When parents respond to a “Look at me!”  with a “Well done!” or a “Good job!” they are (inadvertently or deliberately) evaluating their child’s effort.

It’s not that these phrases are the wrong thing to say per se.  But there are problems associated with praise that includes evaluation along with celebration.

If your child is calling for your attention, then they have already judged their own performance and decided that it’s noteworthy.

I’d like to encourage parents to practice accepting their child’s own evaluation of their efforts without adding their own.  Then simply join in with your child’s pleasure and excitement and share the moment together.

You could try saying “I see you!” which I recall was my parents standard answer.

Or you can practice one of the descriptive praise phrases at the start of this section. 

Descriptive praise is a lot more effective at boosting children’s self-esteem. 

And it improves your connection with your child because these phrases meet more of your child’s needs in those “Look at me!” moments.

Have a go.  It’s surprisingly easy once you get started!

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