As a parent of a soon-to-be two year old, I'm constantly having to watch him, especially when he does things I'm not too fond of. These behaviors include throwing things down the stairs, marking up the furniture with a ballpoint pen, and chewing on various objects. Sometimes I get just a little aggravated with such behaviors. Nonetheless, I have to remind myself that my son has many wonderful qualities and communicate that with him.
We have a choice as parents – focusing on the negative behaviors (of course, they need to be addressed with the child) or focusing on the positive things they do. Parents can take the positives for granted because we expect them to happen. Other times we do battle with our children, resulting in continued negative behaviors which is want we don't want to see.
No matter if the child is putting dirty clothers in the hamper, sharing a video game with a sibling, sitting quietly at the dinner table, he or she is truly happy when their parents communicate their appreciation for what they do as well as the positive qualities they show such as cooperation, respect, and honesty. Positive attention means catching your child doing more good things.
Linda Luecke, MA, LPC