I’ve been devouring my way through Crystal Lutton’s Biblical Parenting this week. I have known Crystal for quite a while, so I feel like I’m doing this backwards, but when my friend had her book sitting on the couch, I couldn’t help but steal it, lol.
Yesterday’s lesson for me was on descriptive praise. I have often heard that you shouldn’t use subjective words like “pretty” or “good”, instead you should use descriptive praise. I wasn’t really sure that this would work, and I honestly wasn’t sure that it is how God works. I kept thinking of
Luke 19:17″ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'”
Here it seemed to me that God was being both subjective and descriptive, but then I suppose that God knows what is well done or not, lol, so maybe its not subjective. Hmm, I’ll have to think about that.
Plus, non-descriptive praise is everywhere. Even Joe on Blue’s Clues tells kids they’re “really smart”. It didn’t seem like a huge deal to me. I’ve never told my kids that things that they do make them “good” or “bad”. I know that’s a big no-no.
Anyways, this quote in Crystal’s book helped to give me a nudge to change.
If your child brings you a picture tell them what you see. “You used lots of green. I see squiggly lines and some straight ones.” If your daughter asks what you think of her dress tell her what you see. “It’s blue and it has flowers.” You will be amazed at how her face lights up. My son calls me into his playroom to show me what he’s done with his cars and I tell him what I see. “You have lined them up and all the trucks are together.” He feels a sense of accomplishment and knows that I have noticed his hard work because I can tell him what he did.
So yesterday we made brownies. I’m using up the last of my Duncan Hines dairy-free mixes (which they’ve done away with, but that’s another blog entry). My 4-year-old son always pulls up a chair to stand next to me when I am mixing, and he always helps me to stir. He asked if he could do it all by himself, so I gave him the spatula. He stirred for a good minute, and did it to completion. Instead of my usual “Good job, you stirred the brownies.”, I said “You stirred the brownies completely. Now they’re ready to go in the pan.”. He looked like I had just told him that he had won a lifetime supply of toys, lol. He lit up, stood taller, and looked so proud. Its amazing what a difference of a few words can make!
Thank you, Crystal!