“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.” – Dave Willis
When I think back on individuals who have had a profound impact on my life, I linger on those who provided encouragement when I was at my lowest points. So as we approach February and reflect on love, kindness, and growth for Children’s Mental Health Week, let’s stop and take a moment to think about how we can practically instill a spirit of kindness and encouragement in our children.
Raising Positive & Encouraging Children: 4 Practical Tips
Lead by example.
Children learn what is modeled for them. Period. If a child lives with constant criticism and belittling, he or she will learn to respond to others in that manner. If a child lives in a home where efforts and intentions are celebrated, he or she learns to lift others up in that manner.
On that note, teach your children that it’s okay to make mistakes.
Mistakes are an integral part of learning, and our children need to know that it is okay to make a mistake…the world won’t end. They will learn and move on. Then, they can pass that same philosophy on in their interactions with others.
Point out when you see your child encouraging others.
If your son says, “Great try, —” out on the soccer field, point that out. Everyone wants to be around an encourager, and as a parent, you should celebrate each time you hear words of encouragement from your child.
Focus on the positive.
In the same vein as leading by example, it is important to note that you get more of what you notice. If you focus on the negative actions of your child, you will, even if unintentional, continue to see more of that. Choosing to emphasize the positive that you see will help your child learn to do that with others.
More Resources on Kindness, Encouragement, & Positivity
For additional help on how to cultivate a spirit of encouragement in your household, check out the following articles and resources:
- Making Kindness a Family Affair – The Lily-Jo Project
- Empathy Defined – The Greater Good Magazine
- 5 Tips for Cultivating Empathy – Harvard Graduate School of Education’s
- The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation
At the Lily-Jo Project, we understand that parenting and working with youth can be challenging. That’s why we offer a variety of parenting and mental health content on our website that may be of assistance – here are a few links to get started:
- Self-help resource for adults & teens
- Self-help resource for children & parents
- Podcasts & videos
We also offer a public community on Facebook that provides a forum to seek support with the day-to-day questions and concerns that go with raising a family. I moderate the group, and we would love to have you.
I moderate the group, and you can request to join here – looking forward to seeing you there!
About the Author: Brandy Browne
Brandy Browne is a care coordinator for a local mental health agency in the United States, as well as a family coach and blogger for UnStuck (www.unstucks.com) – her family coaching service aimed at helping families develop positive habits and breaking the cycle of generational trauma and poverty.
Her education is in early and elementary education, and she also has a masters degree in parenting and child/adolescent development. Brandy is a wife to her high school sweetheart of fifteen years, and together they share three children, aged ten, seven, and five. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, writing, and distance running.