Town Talk Features

My Messy Mom Life: 4.10.19

I love that I get to share things I’m learning as a mom with an audience. And it’s not just what I have ‘mastered’ in any way; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I am always growing as a parent, and my goal is to become more patient and intentional.

Have you heard of the ratio of positive to negative criticism? It’s used across the country in marriage counseling and at large corporations when building and mobilizing teams. Basically, it means that for every criticism you give, someone needs to hear about six encouraging words to feel empowered to do better and to maintain their confidence. Most people can handle correction and will work to change the behavior if it’s followed by genuine, positive feedback on other things they are doing right. The Harvard Business Review calls it the Praise-to-Criticism Ratio and measures its effectiveness in work performance.

The question is, how would it work if we used this principle with our kids? It’s such a simple method. It reminds us how powerful it can be to notice and point out things our kids are doing right and things we love about them, to encourage them more often in their strengths. This way, when necessary correction does happen, it is filtered by a sense of confidence and belonging.

I never really thought about this until I was listening to a book on Audible a few months ago. The author mentioned this concept as it relates to children, and it really struck me. He talked about how easy it is to just blurt out what our kids are doing wrong, but in order to keep their confidence up, we need the positive things we say to outweigh the negative.

As a mom, I know it’s my job to help shape my kids into responsible, respectful, caring and empathetic people. I may even err on the stricter side sometimes. When I see them act out, it’s a natural response to correct them. But setting up my day to continually point out their strengths takes a little more thought. After all, I am raising a tough-as-nails, strong-willed 6-year-old, and some days are a little intense. Deep down, though, I know that all of the qualities that make parenting her sometimes difficult will make her a powerful force to be reckoned with in her days to come.

This idea does wonders when helping people grow in their careers and marriages. How much more will it help our kids grow in their most formative years? We get the chance to raise strong, confident risk-takers who believe in themselves. It’s such an honor. I have started keeping a list of my kids’ amazing attributes so I can remind myself to remind them constantly. I’m always coming to you as a work in progress,  sharing things I learn along the way.

Katelyn Young Meyer is a local mom of two (her #crumblycrew) who shares real moments of motherhood as it relates to fashion, food and fun! Follow her on Instagram at @_katelynyoung_ or follow her blog at thebejuledlife.com

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