Normally, I’m pretty skeptical about any new-age pop-psychology mumbo jumbo slapped onto a magnet and strategically placed front and center on a refrigerator. However I recently came across one such attention-grabbing public notice, and I have to admit, I was intrigued.
It read: 101 Ways to Praise Kids.
It was produced by some company that goes by the name of Nannies & Housekeepers U.S.A. At first I was discouraged, as it appeared that it was something solely created for nannies, which we don’t have because a) we don’t have the money, and b) there is only one Mary Poppins, and I don’t think she’s available. But although it was targeted at nannies, I couldn’t help wonder if it might work for parents too, as they sometimes interact with their own children as well.
I gave it a shot.
I’ve carried it around in my pocket for a week now, and I’ve really noticed a difference in my children’s confidence. Used to be that when they ran up to tell me something or had accomplished something, I just didn’t know how to react. But now I do!
I tried it out on Abbie first.
Abbie: Dad, I made 8 loaves of bread today.
Me: (Scanning the card for the right thing to say) You’re a pleasure to know! (Nailed it.)
Connor: Dad, I drew this picture for you.
Me: What a great listener!
Tanner: Dad, I had an accident when I couldn’t climb up on the toilet fast enough.
Me: You’ve earned my respect!
Me: Thanks for caring!
Garren: Dad, in Cub Scouts we talked about coin collections.
Me: The time you put in really shows!
Roxanna: (And I wish I were making this one up…) Dad, listen to the song I memorized from West Side Story! “My daddy beats my mommy; my mommy clobbers me; my grandpa is a commie; my grandma pushes tea; my sister wears a mustache; my brother wears a dress! Goodness! Gracious! That’s why I’m a mess!”
Me: Class act!
So, turns out, as you can plainly see, that sometimes this stuff really works! I can really tell a difference in my children’s attitudes. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if this parenting thing doesn’t work out, I could totally be a nanny. Kenny Poppins.