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Why is positive feedback so important?

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Giving positive feedback to our kids is tough. Because everybody is busy, you tend to notice, and it's human nature to notice, when it is not going very well. Here are a couple of things to remember.

First of all, you can't spoil your kid by noticing the things he's doing well and basically giving him a high five or a thumbs up or a great job and telling him what it is he did well. If you really want to encourage kids when they're struggling with something that's been tough and making progress or they're learning something new, praise that often. In addition to the pat on the back, a hug for the awesome job of getting his homework done on time, give him a reason why it is good for them that they did that. When you get your homework done on time then you can get on to the things that you want to do faster. Way to go. If you want to take it up another notch  you can have some additional positive consequences that don't cost you anything.

If you have a child who's being really, really responsible on curfew you might give her an extra 15 minutes tacked onto to curfew. Or if your son has struggled and struggled with turning off his video games and getting his homework done then when he gets his homework done you might give him an extra 15 minutes of TV time or computer time. You don't have to do that though. Just the noticing and the praising is enough.

One good tip for parents is if you find that you and your child are arguing more often or that you are frustrated with each other more often, is usually the first big sign that you aren't noticing when they're being good and praising them enough. That is the time to up your praise.

Another hint is at the end of every day is to stop just for 30 seconds and think about everything good your child did that day and everything you appreciate about your child. What you'll probably find out is that when you really stop and think about it your kid is doing more positive things than negative things. Then make a mental note or write it down on a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror or leave a big note to your child on the refrigerator, in his room or wherever it is, saying what it was he did well and just how much you love him and appreciate it. Those things tend to really, ironically enough, decrease some of the negative behavior.

Kids really just want your attention. We don't want them only to get it when we're irritated with them.

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