Positive Discipline in the Classroom: Encouraging Statements

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

What Children Learn:

Encouraging statements are a way to give positive feedback to others without the use of praise. Children learn that when we give feedback in a non-judgmental way, it allows the receiver to feel an internal sense of pride and motivation. Students practice both giving and receiving encouraging statements.

Why It’s Important:

It's our natural instinct as parents to let our children know how much we love them and how proud we are of their growth and accomplishments. How we express these feelings makes a huge difference in how our children feel about themselves now and as adults. There has been a vast amount of research on this topic and the data is crystal clear. Praise leads to lower self-esteem, creates approval junkies, and leads to risk-averse children and adults.

Encouragement creates internal motivation. When someone says, “Wow, you worked hard on that,” the locus on control lies within us. We have the power to do it again, and we feel our own sense of pride in our abilities, instead of the traits someone else values in us.

How Parents Can Support Use At Home:

This tool that goes a long way at home, as it shows that we are really present and engaged. It’s easy to say, “Good job.” It takes more time to tune in and say, “Wow, I notice you worked really hard on your math homework! How are you feeling about it?” It is so worth it, as our kids glow with their own sense of pride. That internal feeling is what will motivate them in the future much more than any praise we could give them.

Check out Beyond Praise: Building Self Esteem Through Encouragement to learn more about the idea of encouragement vs. praise, and three ways we can encourage those around us.