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Character Tips for Parents – How to Raise Respectful Kids Who Want to Succeed

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Would you like to raise children with successful characters? Does your crankiness get in the way? If so, you're not alone; I've been cranky too. Look inside for 3 ways to help your kids want to succeed.

Today I'll share the secret formula for raising respectful kids who want to succeed. You won't have to feel cranky or guilty again. Instead you'll create more success, more cooperation, and more respect in your home.

But first I'll tell you about the power of positive influencing and a little girl named Carol.

Influencing is your reaction to your child's behavior. Influencing happens every day, for better or for worse, without your even thinking about it.

Let's say your Bobby walked the dog without being asked. You smile and say "Thank You."

Character Tip - Positive Influencing Is the Secret Formula

Because Bobby saw your smile and heard your "Thank You," he may be willing to walk the dog more often. Your positive comment about Bobby's behavior influenced his willingness to walk the dog again.

Can you see how knowing about influencing with positive comments can increase your parenting skills?

Of course, influencing can go the other way. Being too cranky too often with negative comments can stop Bobby from wanting to please you, to feel angry, fearful, or lazy.

Character Tip – Catch Your Child Doing Well

1. Experience the power of influencing by commenting on good behavior

2. Decide to do it

3. Then do it often

Character Tip – Create Positive Expectations

I remember teaching a little girl named Carol. She worked at the speed of light. There wasn't another 3rd grader who could finish their work faster. When it was time to write a story, Carol wrote 3 sentences –

1. A beginning

2. A middle and an

3. End

I'd ask, "Carol, where's the rest of it." "That's it," she answered.

Mid-year the class took a national reading test. Carol finished it first and with an average score. I knew she was brighter than that. How could I slow her down? How could I get her to do quality work?

The answer came to me from my husband, Jim, a psychology student at the time. Jim told me about some impressive research about teacher's expectations. It revealed how teachers who expected students to achieve helped those students become successful.

Suddenly I could see it. I knew how to help Carol. I called her to my desk, "Carol, you're a smart girl and you can do better. Let's go over your reading test."

By slowing her down, Carol got most of the answers correct. Throughout the rest of the year I'd tell her,


"Carol you're a smart girl."
"Carol, you took your time and did well."
"Carol, I believe in you."

At the end of the year Carol took a second national reading test. She received a perfect score.

Character Tip – Be honest with Your Praise

When I've shared Carol's story with parents, some said, "I'm not going to go goo, goo, gah, gah, over every little thing my kids do. That's not honest. That's manipulation." To that I say, "Don't go goo-goo gah, gah over every little thing. You must be honest or your child won't believe or respect you."

Parents, whether you're positive, negative, or neutral, you're always influencing your child. Isn't it better to influence your child with compliments than to tear down your child's desire to do well?

Conclusion for Building Character with the Secret Formula

Raise kids who want to succeed. Positive influencing is your secret formula. Catch your child doing well. Create positive expectations and give honest compliments. Use these character tips to create more success, more cooperation, and more respect in your child.

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Jean Tracy, MSS invites you to claim your free access to 80 Fun Activities to Share with Your Kids and her Free Parenting Newsletter

Pick up your copy of Parents As Teachers - 137 Teaching Ideas from Birth to 9 Years and enjoy the fun of teaching your child the tools for success.