Five things to start doing in your parenting to ensure your child’s grows up with positive mental health:
1.Use descriptive praise:
It’s an excellent motivator and is great for building a positive sense of self. And it reinforces good behaviour. When praising your child, be sure to be specific, telling them exactly why they have earned your praise, rather than just general praise.
For example, “you’ve done a really good job of tidying your room and putting everything in the right place. Now you can find everything when you need it.” Rather than, “well done for tidying your room.”
- Praise the effort, not the outcome.
Kids benefit greatly when their parents praise their efforts over their results. Try saying “well done, you played really well, and worked hard as a team.” Rather than, “well done you scored two goals.” This works because outcomes like winning or scoring a goal are often out of a kids control, where effort and trying hard is within their control.
- Focus on behaviour, not character.
Always focus on their behaviour, not on your child’s character. Switch your language to “what you’re doing is quite naughty.” Not, “you’re a naughty girl.” Focussing on the action gets better results, without leaving long-term doubts around who they are as a person.
- Think about how you react to your child’s emotions.
What do you do when a child gets angry, frightened or upset? Do you get angry as well? Or try and cheer them up or distract them. WeParent recommends you let kids experience their emotions. Try helping them put words to their feelings, describe their feelings in 3 intensity levels, i.e. a little bit angry, quite angry, very angry. This is the first important step in teaching your child to understand, vocalise and manage their emotions rather than continue to react over the top or suppress them. A great step towards positive mental health.
- The 80/20 rule.
If your child does something correctly 80% of the time then this is considering a job well done at this age. Expecting a child to achieve 100% on tasks they are learning can create an environment that fosters their anxiety. If you have asked your child to make their bed each day, accept 8 times out of 10 as a positive result. Focus on the 8 times it was done, not the 2 times it was not.