NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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My Favorite Things

https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2013/11/28/10/02/child-219942_960_720.jpg downloaded 12/31/15


“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things,” sang Maria (Julie Andrews) in the Rodgers and Hammerstein production of “The Sound of Music.”  My mom took my baby brother and me to that movie at a theater years ago, and it played again on network TV this past weekend.

Two of my favorite things when it comes to parenting strategies, skills, and techniques are:
            -  giving viable, age-appropriate choices, and
            -  using descriptive praise.

Giving viable, age-appropriate choices means allowing the child to make a choice between two options that the parent or adult has offered.  When you use this strategy, make sure that both options are viable and potentially desirable to the child, and that both of the options are acceptable to you as the parent or adult so that you can live with whichever choice the child makes. 

Giving choices sounds like, “Would you like to wear your blue jeans or your khakis today?” or “Do you want me to read you one story or two stories before you go to bed?”

Giving choices allows a child to exercise independence within safe boundaries.  It also helps the child develop decision-making skills.

Using descriptive praise speaks volumes to a child.  It communicates that you are paying attention to the child, and that he is worth the time and effort it takes to notice details and give specific feedback on what you noticed about him or his actions or performance.  It means so much more than just a generic pat on the back and one-size-fits-all “Good job,” or “You’re really good at that.” 

Descriptive praise sounds like, “I noticed you petting the kitty very gently,” or “I see you picked up all your toys and put them away.”   

Descriptive praise allows the child to come to their own conclusion that they did a good job or that they are responsible.  These conclusions help the child develop a healthy, positive self-esteem.

For more information about positive parenting strategies, contact the Extension Office to request a free copy of the NDSU Extension publication, “The Guidance Approach to Discipline,” or view it online at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs468.pdf

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2013/11/28/10/02/child-219942_960_720.jpg
                   (downloaded 12/31/15) 

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