How to Bookmark the Good Days in Parenting
“Yesterday was a good day,” Laura reported to her friend Shelley at the park. “My kids seemed to cooperate more with me and with each other. I felt like I had a breather for a whole day. It was uncommonly peaceful.”
Shelley’s response surprised Laura. “Did you bookmark it?”
“Bookmark it? What does that mean?”
“To bookmark is to acknowledge the positive day with your kids. Point out the good you saw, and tell them how much you appreciate their cooperation and good attitudes.”
Shelley’s point is very important for any family. When things go well, don’t just take the opportunity to rest up for the next problem. Be proactive and take advantage of the good day by affirming its importance.
Good Days vs. Bad Days:
There are things you can do on good days that you can’t do on bad days. Good days are those days when a child is trying to overcome the weakness you’ve been working on. He’s tried to respond better to instruction or is controlling his anger and not exploding when he doesn’t get his way. At the end of a good day, you’re encouraged, believing that there may actually be hope for a positive future.
Bad days are those days when kids resist you, don’t cooperate with the plan, and seem intent on making the situation worse instead of better. Although we wish all days could be good, the reality is that sometimes a bad day is happening now and needs to be addressed.
How to Bookmark Good Days:
- Take advantage of the good day by providing a lot of encouragement and praise. You can acknowledge how positive you feel when your child is making progress, but be sure to affirm the growing character you see in order to encourage a positive sense of growth in your child. “Corey, I’m enjoying your compassionate heart.” “Shayla, I know it’s hard to be honest sometimes, and I can tell you’re really working on it.”
- Many parents are silent about progress and quite loud about deficiencies. Even in the midst of positive days, many children believe they’re doing poorly. You might say, “Joan, I’m impressed with your ability to handle frustration today. It used to be that you’d quickly throw a temper tantrum, but now you seem much stronger in this area.” Your affirmation on good days can bring hope to your child. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” A parent’s encouraging words said at the right time can provide just the medicine for a child’s heart.
- To create a bookmark, you have to express affirmation and encouragement in abundance on the day that things are going well. This gives your child a memory to look back on later. So, when things seem good, don’t just sit back and rest up for the next challenge. Instead, take advantage of the moment and be proactive in affirmation and encouragement. In the next few days, when things aren’t going so well, you can look back on that exceptionally good day and say things like, “Do you remember last week when we had that great day? You were really trying hard then, and we all felt better about life. Could you try to go back to doing the same things you were doing that day?”
Parenting is tough. It takes a lot of work and continual learning. Look for ways to help children have good days. They need them, and so do you. Good days provide the footholds for hope to develop and a positive working relationship between parent and child.
Dr. Scott Turansky is an author and speaker known for his heartfelt parenting approach. He offers moms practical, real-life advice for many of parenting’s greatest challenges and is the founder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting.