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Children Cooperate When Appreciated

Do you want your child to cooperate with you more?

Children are much more likely to cooperate with adults who like being with them and who let them know they are worthwhile. This builds a level of trust and a feeling of safety. Within that environment, they are more likely to respond by being helpful and pleasant.

Relationships are created step by step. Sometimes the smallest things - a word of encouragement or small act of appreciation - can tilt the balance and create a whole new energy in a relationship.

We all need to feel accepted and approved of.

If your children walk into the room and you look up and smile, glad to see them, they will receive the message:

"I am worthwhile."

"I am welcome and appreciated."

That unspoken message creates an atmosphere in your home that feels safe and inviting.

So start looking for things you appreciate about your child.

We humans tend to notice the things we focus on.

Let me give you an example. I never paid much attention to cars and trucks. If the one I had got me where I wanted to go, I was happy, so I didn't notice what other people were driving.

A few years ago, I bought a Saturn sedan - turquoise. Very pretty, I thought. For the next several weeks, everywhere I went, I saw Saturns. And lots of them were turquoise. I hadn't noticed before, because I wasn't thinking about Saturns. But all of a sudden, there they were. Everywhere.

What changed?



After buying a Saturn, I was thinking about Saturns, so I noticed the ones around me. It's human nature. We notice what we look for.

Look for the things you want to see in your child.

Do you want him:

- to be smart?

- to take responsibility?

- to be capable?

- to be lovable?

Then look for those things in him.

If you look for things he is doing wrong, you will find them.

If you look for things he is doing right, you will find those as well.

If you look for things you can praise, they are there, but you have to notice.

Just as the Saturns were all around me, I didn't see them until I was focused on them. The same is true of people.

Your children are doing things now that would please you, if you took the time to notice. And they are waiting to be acknowledged.

Stay in your heart.

When you are not in your heart, you are likely to be judging, condemning, looking for things that are wrong. And remember: whatever you look for, you will find.

So why not deliberately think about things that you feel good about? They are there, waiting for you to notice.

Make a list of the things you most enjoy or admire in your child.

- Think of qualities she has such as a sense of humor, a tender heart or determination.

- Think about abilities he has, such as artistic, musical or athletic.

- Think about good times you have had together - memories that make you smile and feel your heart connection with your child.

Write them down.

Then, take time to sit quietly and think about those things.

Read over your list. Stay with it until the love wells up within you. When you get the FEELING of love, sit with it for a few minutes. Savor it?without an expectation that it will be reciprocated. At this point, this is all about YOU - your thoughts, feelings, actions.

Then take that feeling of love with you every time you interact with your child.

You may start to see results right away - changes in your child. If so, that's great. If not, give it time.

This process is about transforming something in yourself, rather than trying to change anything in your child.

Now, as you go through your day, not just today, but every day, look for things to appreciate in your child.

Then let her know.

Tell him you love him.

Tell her what you appreciate about her, be sure that it is totally sincere.

Do not let any day go by without acknowledging your child at least once. More is even better, (but don't over do it, or it may seem phony).

Appreciation is very powerful.

Whenever you bring feelings of appreciation, rather than judgment, you are in a powerful position to invite your child to join you.

As you begin to notice the positives and express your appreciation, your child will respond, but do not expect or require a change in his behavior. That will happen naturally, in its own time. This is not about him - it's about YOU.

As you are falling asleep tonight: be sure you are in your heart.

Use pictures, memories or thoughts about your child that invite the feeling of appreciation. Perhaps it will be a memory from today.

Fall asleep considering the things you appreciate about your child, and allow yourself to enjoy the feeling of love that wells up within you.

Then surely, you will have sweet dreams, knowing you just created a tomorrow filled with love.

Pat and Larry Downing have many years of experience counseling teenagers and their parents, conducting family mediations and leading workshops and support groups. They are co-authors of the e-Book, "Feel Good Parenting: How to Use the Power of Your Heart to Create an Extraordinary Relationship with Your Child."

For more information on how to create relationships that are peaceful, harmonious, cooperative and joyful, you may go to go to to sign up for a free e-Course and a free e-zine for parents.

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