Children look to adults for encouragement and compliments go a long way in giving kids the boost they need, especially during adolescent years.
1. Compliment their character.
We live in a world where integrity is neither consistently taught nor widely expected. When children and youth demonstrate honesty, kindness, trustworthiness and reliability, that’s a great time to take them aside and offer a sincere compliment.
It’s too easy to fall into patterns of disapproval, where the only time we notice is when kids do wrong. Rather than waiting for disobedience or disrespect (then coming down like a ton of bricks) try noticing obedience and respect: “You are an awesome young man, and I appreciate the way you are behaving”.
3. Compliment them for simply being part of the family and/or group.
“Every time I see you, I’m thankful that I’m your Mom.” Kids need to understand that they are valued simply because they are.
4. Compliment contributions
“Clearing the table (sweeping the porch… putting out the trash) makes a real difference. I appreciate your contribution.” Kids need to understand that what they do makes a difference, that the adults notice, and that pitching in is a good part of togetherness.
5. Compliment the quality of their work.
“Way to go! I’m so glad you take this job so seriously, it shows.” Doing a job at a high standard is always worth noting.
6. Compliment the effort, even when the result is not the best.
“Your willingness to help makes me happy! Now we need to take a look at how you can get the trash to the curb without leaving a trail.” Compliments can be an important part of our role as role models and mentors.
7. Compliment when they achieve something new.
“Wow! That’s a huge leap forward for you there in math, pal.” “Awesome! I’m not at all surprised after you worked so hard.” A well-placed compliment can keep a positive ball rolling.
8. Compliment their sense of style even if we don’t exactly share their taste.
Encourage individuality. “When it comes to putting together an outfit, you certainly have some flair!” “I’ve never seen a table set quite like that before – you have an amazing imagination!” It’s not useful to limit compliments to the narrow range of our own taste.
9. Compliment steps toward a long-term goal.
“The improvement you’re showing is commendable. Thanks for trying.” Waiting for perfection before we’re willing to dish out a compliment is inefficient, may dampen enthusiasm, and does little to help the process of growth.
10. Compliment their friends.
But only do this when you can do it honestly! “Your friends are the greatest!” “That Jake is such a good kid.”