Being an Affirmative Parent

Children of all ages look to their parents for praise and affirmation of every aspect of their lives. It really begins when they are toddlers and ends when you take your last breath as a parent.

At a toddler’s age they are looking to see where your boundaries are and how far they can push them, but they are always looking for kudos when they do something cute or good. Telling them how proud you are of them for their accomplishments at this age comes easily with a “good boy, or good girl!” Letting them know how great they are at this age seems like it may just be a small thing, but it really has an impact on their growing personalities and character. Be careful that you do not find yourself so busy with other things that you do not pay full attention to your child’s accomplishments. This makes them feel neglected and unwanted. Toddlers have a very tender heart and need attention and affirmation of their good deeds.

When they are beyond toddlers, but not yet teens, they become a sponge and notice every move you make, every word you say, and try to imitate everything that is in their world to some degree. These children are building their personalities and social skills. Showing them the right way to dress, talk, walk, and how to have good manners overall is your roll. When they are kind to someone who others are not very nice to, it makes your heart swell up letting you know that they are learning to do the right thing. It is important in these situations to let your child also know what a really great thing they have done. You have taught them right. They are starting to pick up skills and use them. Explaining to them how they make other people feel with their kind words or deeds encourages them and affirms their good social behavior.

As a child reaches the teen years, even though they would never acknowledge it, they are looking for someone to guide them through the tough times they are heading into. The pressures of their peers is great at this age. They are pushed to wear clothes they may not ever consider wearing on their own, or saying or doing things that would never be their own idea. This is where you have to keep an eye on what is going on with your child. Don’t just assume that since they are now teens they know what they are doing and your job of affirming their behavior is over. This is a critical time. You as a parent need to do your homework. You need to visit the malls and see what is “in style” and discuss with your teen what is acceptable and what is not. You also need to do your homework on the current pressures put on your teen. This may be as simple as sitting down with your child and letting them talk to you about the things that are going on in their world. If they are having any issues, you can discuss them and work out any problems that they are having. Setting guidelines and telling them when they are doing something right, and telling them when they are following the guidelines is great for their building character.

Are your children or teens always going to follow your rules or guidelines? Of course, not. That is part of being a child. They are going to test the boundaries and guidelines. Just remember as they grow up you are still responsible for their choices until they are no longer under your roof. Even when they want to rebel and act out. It is your responsibility as a parent to be affirmative and supporting of their correct decisions and actions and have consequences for their bad behavior.