It! How do you typically react to your kid's failures or shortcomings—you know, those moments when he doesn't meet your expectations or achieve the perfect score or get the goal? Yelling, shaming, criticizing, judging, ridiculing, or saying "I told you so" are especially deadly reactions. Here are three alternative ways you might try using to respond to your kid's shortcomings. Choose one and incorporate it in your behavior:
■ Focus on what your kid is trying to achieve: "How did you want this to turn out?"
■ Affirm your belief in her: "I know you can do it. Hang in there."
■ Support trying again: "Just because it isn't easy doesn't mean you're not good at it."
Step Three: Emphasize Going for Your Personal Best. Take the focus off always trying to win and instead emphasize doing the very best you can. "How did you play?" "Did you do the best you could?" "What's the most important thing you learned today?" "Is there anything you wish you had done differently?"
Step Four: Don't Praise the Trophy. Praise your kid's hard work and effort, not his grade or gold star, so that he knows that what matters most in your eyes is his effort. "Earning that score took a lot of work and time. Good for you!" "Hey, you really were concentrating on the rink before you went into that spin; you really put everything you had into it." "Your recital wouldn't have been so wonderful if you hadn't put so much time into practicing that piece."
Step Five: Encourage Internal Praise. Many children have become so dependent on our approval that they don't know how
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