• Susie Csorsz Brown

2, 4, 6, 8, ...


One of the things I like to ask my friends and also my clients is how they show their appreciation. This isn’t just a ‘say thank you’ like what we might tell our 5 year old when they get a gift from Grandma; instead, what methods do they use to demonstrate how they admire or treasure something? This question often catches people off-guard because this isn’t generally something they pay attention to. But it should be, especially to one trying to parent positively.

We hear about negative reinforcement and what not to do, and about what we are doing wrong. Regularly, feedback is about mistakes we have made rather than all of the things we did correct. Criticism is more common than constructive feedback, even though the latter would help bring about improvement while the former just breaks ones’ spirit. Sadly, we don’t often hear about what we do right, or how what we have done might have a positive impact on another. Being aware of how you show appreciation and making an effort to do so without commercial or material repayment can make a big difference in the impact your words have. A positive comment out of the blue (especially from someone you love or respect) … priceless.

Let me give you an example. You notice that your child is making a big effort to color or draw a picture for her friend. She is really working hard to make the picture colorful and full of detail and joy. You can give her a bland, ‘Nice job, honey.’ It’s a generic pat-on-the-back that might make her smile for a moment. Or you can show your appreciation by sitting with her and looking at the picture together, discovering the many details she has included. You can admire her effort, not the finished product. You can ask her to make one for your office wall, as well, so that you too can admire the beauty when you are not together. With that simple interest, and that request for your own, you’ve given her the greatest complement of all. She knows you noticed how hard she was working, and noted the care she took. She knows you noticed. That is so important to a child, especially YOUR child. You didn’t have to buy her anything or give her anything. She’ll remember this far longer.

My friends, a little appreciation goes a long way. Try it. You’ll probably like it.One of the things I like to ask my friends and also my clients is how they show their appreciation. This isn’t just a ‘say thank you’ like what we might tell our 5 year old when they get a gift from Grandma; instead, what methods do they use to demonstrate how they admire or treasure something? This question often catches people off-guard because this isn’t generally something they pay attention to. But it should be, especially to one trying to parent positively. We hear about negative reinforcement and what not to do, and about what we are doing wrong. Regularly, feedback is about mistakes we have made rather than all of the things we did correct. Criticism is more common than constructive feedback, even though the latter would help bring about improvement while the former just breaks ones’ spirit. Sadly, we don’t often hear about what we do right, or how what we have done might have a positive impact on another. Being aware of how you show appreciation and making an effort to do so without commercial or material repayment can make a big difference in the impact your words have. A positive comment out of the blue (especially from someone you love or respect) … priceless. Let me give you an example. You notice that your child is making a big effort to color or draw a picture for her friend. She is really working hard to make the picture colorful and full of detail and joy. You can give her a bland, ‘Nice job, honey.’ It’s a generic pat-on-the-back that might make her smile for a moment. Or you can show your appreciation by sitting with her and looking at the picture together, discovering the many details she has included. You can admire her effort, not the finished product. You can ask her to make one for your office wall, as well, so that you too can admire the beauty when you are not together. With that simple interest, and that request for your own, you’ve given her the greatest complement of all. She knows you noticed how hard she was working, and noted the care she took. She knows you noticed. That is so important to a child, especially YOUR child. You didn’t have to buy her anything or give her anything. She’ll remember this far longer. My friends, a little appreciation goes a long way. Try it. You’ll probably like it.


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