capabilities is often a moment-by-moment decision you have to make , but is guided by the notion that you are putting your child ’ s needs above your own . When you see something in your child ’ s behavior that needs to be corrected , balance your correction with adequate praise and recognition for what your child does well or the characteristics you most appreciate about them .
So often , we can look so intently for what needs to be corrected that we can overlook many praiseworthy aspects of our child . When we are careful to balance correction with praise , it helps to ensure that our child does not only hear criticism from us . We also need to be on guard to help ensure that correction does not become the central theme of our relationship with our child . Actively search for those moments when your child is behaving in a praiseworthy fashion and give appropriate recognition . By investing in your child and in your relationship this way , you establish a foundation of love , encouragement and good will so that when correction is required , you have a positive foundation to draw on .
As parents , we can become so busy with the stress and obligations of daily life that we overlook the needs of our child for attention , especially when their need for attention seems related to something we consider frivolous . But , keep in mind , that it takes a surprisingly small amount of ongoing rejection and neglect to crush a child ’ s spirit . Even though their demands for our attention often seem inconsequential , it is important to remember that it is far easier to nurture and maintain a child ’ s self-esteem than it is to rebuild a broken spirit .
That does not mean you must always be at your child ’ s beck and call whenever they want your attention , but make sure they understand why you cannot be attentive at a given moment , and always make a point of returning to them at your first opportunity to give them the chance to have you share in their enthusiasm . And remember to value the time of your child ’ s life when they want you involved . It doesn ’ t last long !
Larry Deavers is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of West Alabama .
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