How important are the words that you use when speaking with your child?
Most parents have read or heard about some of the benefits surrounding using positive language with their kids but did you know that the words you choose to use can literally change your child's brain?
When we use positive words to speak to our children and teenagers, (think words like love, happy, excited, laugh, admire and grateful), we can actually alter how their brain functions! How cool is that? Using positive words more often than negative ones can kick-start the motivational centres of their brains, propelling them into action by increasing cognitive reasoning and strengthening areas in our frontal lobes.
That said, repetitive praise loses its value over time. Whilst positive reinforcement is one of the most effective tools a parent has, it has to be specific. Vague praise like 'You're a great sister' is far less effective than "I loved the way you helped your brother with his homework."
Praising your child for every little thing he or she does does becomes meaningless and kids just tune it out. Kids are super clever and they can tell the difference between praise for doing something simple and praise for a real effort.
Research has actually shown that using generic phrases like “Good girl” or “That was great” every time your child masters a skill makes them dependent on your affirmation rather than their own motivation. Praise only those accomplishments that require real effort and be as specific as you can about why you are proud.