What is the power of a compliment? Do you do it often enough?
Being a kid can be tough. You know that, you were there once right? Sometimes it can feel as though no one notices you. No one cares about what you are going through. I felt that way sometimes in my youth, in fact I still feel that way sometimes as an adult. There are always going to be people in your life who are going to try and bring you down. That’s just a fact of life. Not everyone plays nice.
Since my children were born I have always had the internal need to shield them. I wanted to keep everything bad and negative away from them and paint the world to be full of pretty little rainbows in their heads. However, they are growing up fast. . way too fast. I am starting to realize that my job is no longer to shield them from hurt, but to teach them how to be strong so they are one day able to face the world on their own.
So how do you teach a child to be happy, to have confidence and to feel noticed? My suggestion is to compliment them everyday, starting now. Giving your child daily loving compliments will say to them “Hey, I am noticing you”. “I see what you are doing and I think it is great”. Daily compliments can help in a wide range of feelings. Here are just a few of the things that compliment giving can achieve.
– Compliment giving brings happiness to both the receiver and the giver.
– Complimenting your child can make their day better.
– Complimenting your child can bring you closer together.
– Compliment giving can boost their confidence.
In order to learn more about what affect compliment giving can have on a child I turned to renowned psychologist Dr. Phil Zimbardo and asked him my questions. His response was that offering compliments to others has the ability to make others feel special, to feel respected, and to feel unique. Wouldn’t you say that this is what you want for you children? I do.
So, how should one begin offering compliments and how do you make it an everyday part of your life? Here is what Dr. Phil Zimbardo has to say:
“You do so in a number of obvious ways, by making eye contact, by being an attentive listener to what they are saying and then to give a justifiable complement designed to make them feel good about themselves.
Complements can begin by focusing on external attributes and then subsequently focusing on behavioral qualities.
It is easy when someone has some interesting or unusual external attribute such as jewelry, dress, sweater, etc. The key to giving this compliment is to note how good, how attractive, that person looks wearing that item or garment.
The key to giving a compliment about what someone is saying might be to focus on how interesting it is, how curious it has made you, or how it has made you think differently about something..
Complement giving has to be done regularly enough so that it becomes a social habit that you can do it easily without embarrassment.
The failure to give compliments is often concern about being embarrassed, about not knowing how someone will respond.”
Dr. Zimbardo also went on to talk about the importance of teaching our children how to accept a compliment. Sometimes this can be just as hard as giving one.
“The key to RECEIVING a compliment is simple: say THANKS.
Maybe add, I appreciate that compliment, or that view, etc.”
Teaching your children how to both give and receive compliments now at a young age can have a positive affect on their whole lives. It can help them through high school and help them get through other sad and hurtful situations in their lives later on.
The best example that I have of this is a young man named Jeremiah who I recently had the honor of meeting. This young man recognized that his high school as a whole was struggling. They were trying to understand and work through loosing two of their classmates within a short period of time and were struggling to come together as a whole. Jeremiah decided to create a twitter page called @WestHighBros and to use it for students in his school to offer compliments to one another. The other students started jumping on board, tweeting compliments to one another and the camaraderie of the students quickly soared. The students were feeling happier, more connected, noticed by one another and finding that giving a compliment felt more rewarding than getting one.
Being a kid can be tough and my kids are starting to reach that age where they must face the world alone. Are they going to be ready? I don’t know. But you can be sure that I am going to do everything I possibly can to prepare them to push against the current, to be the one who stands up for others and the one who has such inward confidence that the breath from the negative will not be enough to break them. You can teach your child to the one who walks against the current by giving them compliments and showing them how to give compliments to others. Your child can be like the young student at West High who found that something so small and easy to do as giving a compliment can make a huge difference in the lives of others. It all starts with you and me right now. . in our everyday lives and in our homes. So my question for today is, do we compliment our children and those around us enough?
<3 Dick and Jane
A huge thank you to Dr. Phil Zimbaro and Jeremiah @West High Bro’s for answering my questions and helping me think more about the power of a compliment.