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Positive Parenting: "Catch Them Being Good"

Posted by Marissa Stephens, 1-on-1 Coach

We have something for you to try this week. It’s something Dr. Robert Myers calls “catch them being good.”

If you see behavior you like from someone in your house, pull them aside and tell them what you saw. Any behavior, any moment. From your kids, partner, or other relatives and friends. Keep a tally and see how many times you can catch someone being good.

James Lehman encouraged teachers to use this tool in their classrooms and it made a big difference in kids’ behavior.

Rather than always talking to students one-on-one about what they needed to improve, teachers would also pull students aside to tell them what they had done well. Students started to listen, rather than tuning out the lectures they were used to receiving.

As a parent, positive feedback is one of your most powerful tools. You probably use this kind of encouragement already, but this technique is a way for you to zero in on the positive for a short period of time.

Positive feedback is an incredibly effective way to nourish behaviors you want to encourage. Plus it feels good to give and receive.

We aren’t suggesting you overlook bad behavior, and we know it’s not always easy to find positives when things are tough. That’s why we like to approach new ideas in small doses. Rather than putting a big “to-do” on your list, it’s nice to set up a short experiment for your family.

Try recognizing small moments with positive feedback for three days, or even one day. See what happens. No matter how difficult your child’s behavior, we challenge you to find something positive.

Often, you’ll get more good behavior, or positive messages, in return. With that kind of encouragement, you may find new patterns emerging in your household.

If you “catch them being good,” let us know how it goes in the comments section below. We’re interested in your experiences.

Take care this week,

Marissa, Empowering Parents Coach


About Marissa Stephens, 1-on-1 Coach

Marissa is a proud mom to two boys, age 12 and 7. She earned her degree in Sociology from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and has been a 1-on-1 Coach since 2011. Prior to coming to Empowering Parents, Marissa gained experience working as the House Manager of a group home for teenage boys, as a Children’s Mental Health Case Manager, and also spent several years working on the Children’s Unit at a Psych. Hospital.

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