November's Tool Card*: Compliments
In keeping with the theme of the Thanksgiving season, I chose Compliments for this month's Tool Card. Compliments allow us the opportunity to notice and express what we appreciate about others. I think it's also a life skill to learn to give (and receive) compliments graciously. Compliments are recommended to begin Family Meetings, setting a positive tone for the weekly gathering.
1. Compliments and appreciations bring us closer together.
I've found it's the small things, not the grand gestures, that kindle that precious, warm connection. The enthusiastic "This is the best chili you've ever made!" or "Thank you for making my favorite. . .!" goes a long way to strengthening the family bond. It's all too easy in families to take each other for granted, and assume that we all know we appreciate each other. There is something special about hearing it said out loud.
2. When giving compliments, it's helpful to focus on accomplishments and helpfulness to others.
Rather than "I like the way you made your bed", which is more about meeting your approval than about your child's effort, try "I appreciate you making your bed today", or "Awesome job pulling up the covers on your bed!" And it's really nice to reinforce caring behavior: "I noticed you helped your sister find her doll today. Thank you for taking the time to do that. I know she really appreciated it."
*Positive Discipline Parenting Tools
52 cards to improve your parenting skills
by Jane Nelsen and Adrian Garsia