Motherhood: How to lift your child to the clouds with positive reinforcement

Black mother hugging son outdoorsBy Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

The one thing I have often found interesting about motherhood and parenting, in general, is that you can’t know for sure if you’ve done a good job until it is too late to do anything about it. There is however one little fun nugget that I stumbled upon one day…

I was sitting and working (probably blogging) one day when my four year old son walked into the room and said, “Here, Mommy, I’m giving you this money!” I asked him where he got the quarter from and he said he had found it outside while playing. I deliberately overreacted (in a good way) to his gift of money. “Thank you so much, ” I gushed. I went on and on about it and told him he’s the best son in the world. (He’s the only son I have). I told him I was going to be a rich woman with a son like him who gives me money!

Since then, my son gives me pennies, nickels and dimes almost every single day! On a particularly lucky day, I might get a quarter. My son will be six years old in a couple of weeks and he is still very happy and excited to give me every single coin he finds. I think my husband keeps a constant supply by falling asleep on the couch where a few coins will typically fall out of his pockets.

Of course I am only joking when  I suggest that mothers should get all their sons’ money for the rest of their lives. I have however found that positive reinforcement is absolutely one of the best tools in the parenting tool box. When a child does something pleasing or that you encourage, let them know that you approve and make a big deal out of it. Getting such a positive response and so much attention makes them want to do more of that particular behavior to get more of that positive attention.

I took a parenting home-study course written and presented by TV Psychologist, Dr. Phil, earlier this year and and I was glad to see this lesson reaffirmed in one of the chapters. So, mothers (and fathers) if you want your son (or daughter) to give you all their money (read: great behavior), show them how much you appreciate it when they first display the behavior. You’re likely to get more of that “money” for a long time after that.

Nomalanga is a Life Balance Expert. Her speaking and coaching programs help busy women who struggle to balance Marriage, Motherhood and Money-Making™.  Nomalanga is an experienced instructor, author and avid blogger.

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