We often try to motivate our kids by saying, “This makes me very happy,” or “I’m very proud of you.” When our kids break the rules, it seems natural to say, “Don’t make Mama angry,” or “I’m very disappointed in you.”
Think carefully about the messages we’re sending here. What we’re actually saying is: “If you study hard, you make me happy.” “If you respect the rules, you avoid me throwing a fit.” Do we want our kids to behave positively, because it helps them achieve their own goals? Or are they doing it to please us?
You see, when kids understand that respecting the rules and working hard is ultimately for their own benefit, over time, they develop a strong sense of ownership and pride over their own behavior and work. So, let’s try to set aside our own emotional needs when we are educating them. We can try saying: “Well done! You studied hard and you are one step closer to your goal as a lawyer!” “It is wrong to steal. You hurt other people when you take their things. Write an apology letter now.” A small shift in mindset, coupled with a little change in vocabulary, can make a real world of difference