Well done Mom!

The story I’d like to tell this month comes from the mother of a teenage daughter.  Like most parents this Mom wants to raise a confident and happy daughter.  And so she puts a lot of effort into encouraging her daughter’s self-confidence by praising her when she does something well.

What this mother hadn’t known until one week previously was that the kind of praise that she was relying on can actually cause anxiety in children and create a dependency on external approval for feelings of self-worth.

This Mom heard that rather than simply saying “Well done!” to her daughter when she did something that she was pleased about, she could try describing what her daughter had done.

All during the week, this mother started to notice just how often she said “Well done” to her daughter.  She began to notice for herself that this seemingly innocuous little phrase was indeed a judgment of her daughter.  She began to wonder if might actually be true that she could help improve her daughter’s self-confidence by saying “Good girl” and “Well done” LESS.

And so this Mom did something wonderful with the parenting advice that she’d heard the week before.  She took the advice and she made it her own.  Every time she heard herself say “Well done!” to her daughter she didn’t stop there.

She went on and added a description to her evaluation.

So now instead of just well done, she told me that she was saying “Well done, I see you’ve picked everything up off your bedroom floor” or “Good girl, you’ve finished all your homework and it’s only Friday!”

It’s stories like this that keep me going.  Every time a parent learns a new skill and incorporates it into their life, tweaking it to suit them and their own individual style, I smile. 

And I know that one smile at a time, we are changing our world together.

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