Cool was the “word” that was popular when I was growing up. I know that I am dating myself but it’s the truth. Well I think that “really?” is the word of the day. The inflection in your voice is imperative. So here I go. . . . Really?
I’m at Starbuck’s yesterday waiting to meet someone. I enjoy arriving early so that I can people watch and listen to the exchanges between adult and child. I was not disappointed with what I heard but I was surprised with my response.
A mom and her son around the age of six are exiting with their preferred drink and the young man opens the door for his mom and she declares proudly “good job.” Typically I think, “now what’s so good about opening the door for your mom?” But this time I thought to myself, “really????” This slight shift in my response got me to thinking. I wonder how can I eradicate this horrific phrase? I mean really what was so good about opening the door? I do believe that the mom had the best of intentions but “really?”
This kind of praise can actually discourage your child. “Good job” is rampant out there. Listen for it and you will hear it over and over and over again. Good imparts judgement and that you are pleasing me. Over time your child begins to crave praise. Is this what you want?
I challenge parents to eliminate “good job” out of your vocabulary and replace it with words that notice and describe. “You opened the door so we could get out safely. That was helpful.” You have noticed what your child did and then tagged it with a phrase like, “that was thoughtful, kind or helpful.” This exchange actually stimulates your child’s frontal lobes. You’re helping your child become aware of their actions. You’re calling attention to their actions in a way that is meaningful and authentic.
You can do it! You can change your vocabulary. Make it priority and you won’t regret it. REALLY! No question about it!