“A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water”
Encouragement is providing opportunities for children to develop the perceptions:
“I am capable, I can contribute, and I can use my personal power in useful ways to improve my life and the lives of others.”
I realize that in Week 3 we introduced the Positive Discipline Tool Card Encourgement vs Praise, but I don't think it is possible to encourage our children too much. So this is another good reminder. It is also good to remember the difference between encouragement and praise. I think the biggest difference is that encouragement develops a sense of capability in our children. I think this tool card also goes well with the Small Steps tool card from last week.
When kids try new things, it is natural that they will feel discouraged from time to time. It might be helpful for you to think of time in your own childhood when you felt discouraged and an adult gave you encouragement and helped you believe in yourself. I can remember a time when I was about 7 or 8 years old I wanted to build a dog house for my dog. But I had absolutely no idea where to start. So my dad spent an entire Saturday working with me on the project. He didn't do it for me, but he was by my side every step of the way. That was the first time I had ever even hammered a nail into a piece of wood, so I'm sure that took a great deal of patience for my father. But he let me bend several nails before I finally got the hang of it. By the time I was finished, I was so proud of my accomplishment that I spent the night with my dog in that new doghouse.
It is not always easy to give our children encouragement. I think that is why it is more meaningful than praise. "Good Boy, Good Girl and You're so awesome" won't get a doghouse built. But "Keep trying, it's not easy to hammer a nail straight" will get the job done and instill a feeling of capability in a child.