Stop Using This Word With Your Kids

As women, we grade on a points system.  

We give points for some things and take them away for others.  

We give them to our husbands for doing things like taking out the garbage and putting their socks in the laundry.  We give them to our kids for picking up their rooms and using their manners.

We don’t think about it…we just do it.  

But what if I told you that sometimes our points cause more harm than good?

Here’s what I mean:  Sally cleans her room without being asked.  She wants you to come and look at her handiwork, so you happily oblidge.  

You enter her bedroom and your female brain immediately takes stock of everything and forms a list of the “undones.”   You look down, smile at Sally and say, “Oh, Sally, you did so well!  Thank you for cleaning your room.”  

Then, without missing a beat, you tack on a seemingly harmless word.  

But.  

It sounds something like this, “But it looks like you missed straightening those books and fixing your pillows and…”

Do you see what just happened there?

Sally’s great effort was noticed and points were given.  But in the very next breath, all of the air was effectively taken out of little Sally’s sails.

Here’s why that happens:  As women, we have hyper-awareness of our environments.  We notice all of the “berries” that need to be “picked.”  

These qualities served us well as gatherers back in the day.  And so naturally when our “gatherer brain” kicks in and we see “berries” (or books or pillows or dirty socks), we are compelled to point them out to others so they aren’t missed.  

We don’t do it to be monsters…In fact, we think we are doing them a favor.  In our minds we think it will spur the desired behavior…get them to see what’s still wrong and fix it.

However, when we immediately take away the points we just handed out, it can cultivate a “why even try because I can’t win” environment.

The message we often send to our kids (and our husbands) is this:  You didn’t get it right.

And, ladies, in case you didn’t already know, kids and men love playing for points.  But they will only play a game they know they can win.

By learning to give appreciation points freely without taking them back, we will grow people who love to provide us with happiness.  Remember, people (no matter their age) will always be willing to give more and do more when they feel appreciated.

You get it, Mom.  When you feel appreciated, you don’t mind cooking dinner or folding everyone’s laundry.  But when you don’t feel appreciated, every responsibility feels like a prison sentence.

So, next time you find yourself about to use the point system, remember that to be more effective, forget the “but.”  

Give appreciation freely without taking anything back and let them keep all the points.

Now I know what you’re thinking, HOW WILL THEY EVER LEARN IF I DON’T POINT THESE THINGS OUT?  

Well, I hear ya.  Sometimes things need to be turned into a teachable moments.  And that is okay.  

The trick to having teachable moments while still allowing them to keep all the points is to do this:  Ask before you teach.  Simply start the moment by saying, “Can I tell you something/show you something?”  Or “Can I tell you what would make this MORE PERFECT??”  

By doing this, you are allowing the other person to invite what comes next.  Your words aren’t coming in to steal points away, but rather adding more value to them.  

Mommin’ ain’t easy, but you’ve got this!

I’m so glad that you are here!  Thanks for reading along!

And as always,

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