Proactive Parenting

Be Specific


Hey parents, have you ever had the experience where your child does not listen to you and you respond with yelling at him, or? First of all, if this is a new problem it is a good plan to get a physical check up with your pediatrician to rule out any medical problems. The last thing we want is to get angry at a child that can’t hear us because he is losing his hearing.


Instead of yelling, I would encourage you to think about making a change: praising your child. I want to encourage you to try to be more proactive in your parenting. The basic idea of discipline is correction, not retaliation. We want to encourage good behavior and discourage bad or inappropriate behavior. Giving attention to correct choices and actions is a great technique for that.


Now to the details. Be specific in your praise of your child. Statements like “Good Job,” “You did awesome,” and “You are special to me” are okay in themselves but are not what I am talking about. Be specific, what exactly did you like? Be specific, what exactly was helpful? Be specific, what exactly are you happy about?


Too often we as parents are trying to praise our child and just are not effective because we use praise too cheaply. Looking for something to praise is going to require that you pay some attention to your child and their actions. You will need to be involved in their lives.


I don’t promise that this will make your child’s behavior improve in some impossibly short amount of time. However, giving specific praise will change the way you are looking at your child while also changing some of their behavior.

Dennis Baughman is a
Counselor at Lifeways and
can be reached at 889-9167