Sometimes, I come across parenting advice that makes me uncomfortable, and that’s because I feel exposed. This happened when I read a Tumblr post by an author who goes by Olofa. The title: “Do not punish the behaviour you want to see.”
I am not snarky with my 6-year-old, but there have certainly been times I’ve been frustrated she’s not doing the thing she’s supposed to do.
Brush her teeth, comb her hair, pick up the board game pieces she laid out across the living room floor.
When, after what feels like way too many reminders, she gets herself moving, I might say an exasperated “thank you.” How does that empower her? It doesn’t.
We shouldn’t overpraise kids, but offering them genuine gratitude for doing their part usually propels them to take on more responsibility. Not because they feel shamed into doing so, but because they feel appreciated and important.
Yes, it’s hard. If your kid has protested bedtime for the past 17 nights, you’re probably over the whole process. But then on the 18th night, if they happen crawl under the covers without a fight, you have to let the past slip away. Acknowledge the achievement and move forward.
The littlest steps count.