People in the big wide world can often be pretty short on praise.
People in the natural parenting world can get their knickers in a tremendous knot about it.
I know how it makes me feel.
And sure I should be a big enough person, and it shouldn't matter, I should just instinctively know how great I am.
But truth is I don't.
And it does matter hugely.
To me and most people I know.
To be honest I don't enjoy spending time round people who are totally convinced of their own awesomeness with no room for a compliment top-up...
I like to hang with my fellow neurotic/ creative/ sensitive types...
we tend to be more quirky, and empathetic...
I like saying genuine encouraging things to everyone.
Big and small.
I LOVE appreciating people.
Written or spoken.
It's one of my hobbies.
It makes them... and me... feel great.
And it tends to kindle more magic in the world.
I'm not into bribery or rewards. Or stickers.
We all need to feel the glow that someone values who we are and what we are doing.
It shouldn't be the be all and end all.
But it really matters.
I can be quite impatient and moaney with my dearest kidlets.
I give out when I'm cranky.
But I'm aware of my negative speak.
It comes out when I'm not right.
And when I focus on it, I get all tangled up in guilt and yuckiness.
So I try, when I can, to focus on the power of my positive words.
And I think that my words of appreciation outweigh the bleeurghs, two or three to one... at least.
It was only on reading the e-book, Encouraging Words for Kids by Kelly Bartlett,
How unimaginative I am so often when I appreciate my children.
That realised how many times a day certain words fall from my mouth....
Often "Great Job!"
Which is like a double "Good Job!"
She centres in on this... so it seems I'm not the only one who's over-using this praise bullet in my affirmation arsenal...
What do I mean by this. What am I really communicating?
It's a positive affirmation, sure...
But a bit lazy.
And then I thought, prompted by this... I am encouraging them to think of what they're doing is good. That they need my approval. That they being good...
And a job...like "work"
Time to come up with some alternatives...
I love the suggestions she gives.
I will be printing them off to have them at eye level to remind myself.
They are precise.
Far more imaginative than "Good Job!"
So now every time I say "Good Job!", I am aware.
Bing goes my inner ear!
And I turn it into something more specific.
To tell my kids WHAT it is I am enjoying and appreciating.
I also loved another blog post I read months ago, lord knows who by, where the mama noticed herself doing this and thought hard about what she was wanting to communicate. And she realised that what she was really trying to say was: "I love watching you..." "I love seeing you..."
She wanted to reflect back the pleasure that she got in watching them, being with them, witnessing them. Not their achievement, or behvaiour. But her joy at their being their and being them and doing their thing, and her having the privilege to watch them do it.
I've adopted that idea too.
And love saying it and my kids love hearing it.
And its true for everyone who loves their kids.
We love seeing them being their mad, quirky, intelligent, feisty, courageous, inquisitive selves.
Encouraging Words for Kids by Kelly Bartlett, is part of the e-bundle of 22 Mindful Nurturing e-resources available until this Sunday for just $24.95. So this is almost your last chance to buy.
Questions about e-bundles and e-books and what I get when you buy via me - see here!