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5 to 1

“Come pick up your stuff”

“You need to practice!”

“Don’t say that word!”

“You didn’t do your dishes”

“Get your coat off the floor”

“That doesn’t look good”

“Take out the garbage!”

“Haven’t you done your math yet?”

As moms, it is our duty to teach our kids to behave and to work, and we do need to follow-up and supervise their work. That is part of teaching and training. But sometimes, I slip into a pattern and feel that I am somehow being diligent if I remind/nag my kids. I forget how much everyone needs to be complimented, noticed, praised and appreciated for the good they do.

I’ve heard that for emotional health, we need a 5 to 1 ratio: five positive remarks for every critical or nagging “reminder”. More than this is destructive to a person’s self-worth. I do believe that! But it is easy for mom to get into the habit of “reminding”, without really being aware of the negative influence it is having. What a happy effect it would have if we could remember to verbalize all the positive and good we see in our children—and there is so much that is good!

A little prayer for myself today—that I will tell them what I see that is wonderful about my precious children! And that I ask myself before I remind them: is this going to build them up and produce the change I am hoping for, or is it just another negative, nagging reminder?

To a happier new year!

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