I've already described how we tend to praise our children too much. In addition to that, we tend to praise the wrong things. It's tempting to praise the external, after all that's the part we can see. And we live in a culture that is very externally focused.
Our culture is all about physical beauty and success. It's difficult to be counterculture, to acknowledge inner beauty, values, struggles, and perseverance. But that is the exactly the kind of praise that will benefit our children more than comments on what they are wearing or how they look.
We will do well to show our children that we value honesty, integrity, helpfulness, loyalty, and faithfulness over and above other valuable things such as smarts and good grades. We can start by telling our children how important these traits are to us as adults. Then we build on that by affirming a time in which our child tells the truth although it's difficult or a time in which he stops to help another although there's nothing in it for him. As we do this our children see the authenticity in us as their parents. They see that we expect the same things in them that we hold valuable in ourselves.
Blessings on your parenting,
Tim Miesner, Principal