Here is how to compliment your teens without receiving an eye roll.
Feeling valued and appreciated are basic human needs, and teenagers might need it the very most. But if your compliments are met with an eye roll or sarcastic response – you may want to fine tune your approach.
Jessi Berger hosts the online community “Middle Moms” on Instagram. She shares advice on how to compliment your teens in a way they’ll appreciate.
Connect with Jessi at @middle.moms on Instagram.
5 Ways to Compliment Your Teens Better
Feeling valued and appreciated are basic human needs. Teenagers might need it the very most. Those teenage years can be complicated and difficult. There is so much to learn and lots of growth. Compliments help our kids learn new traits and behaviors. They help them realize their strengths and accept their weaknesses. They also just simply make them feel good.
- Compliments should always be sincere. Teenagers are so good at deciphering the energy behind what we say. There is no fooling them. So our compliments always need to be genuine and never manipulative.
- If you don’t know where to start, begin with gratitude. Everyone likes to be thanked and recognized for their contributions.
- “Thanks for getting up on time. You are so responsible.”
- “I appreciate you taking your brother to school. It is so helpful to me to have another driver.”
- “I noticed you let your sister hang out with you and your friends. Thanks for being kind and including her.”
- Specific compliments are always better than general ones. Here are some examples and see if you can feel the difference.
- “Good job!” versus “I notice how hard you worked to get your assignment completed. You did a good job sticking with it.”
- “You’re an awesome soccer player!” versus “I love how you kept at it until you got the ball back. Your persistence is awesome.”
- “You’re a good friend!” versus “I saw how you were loyal to your friend and stuck by them even when other people didn’t. I admire that in you.”
All compliments are good but specific compliments show your kids that you’re interested in them personally and paying attention to them as an individual.
- Compliment efforts not outcomes. Why? Because effort is something that is completely in your child’s control, while outcome isn’t always. Let me give you an example. Both my daughters ran for office at their schools, one in high school and one in junior high. Each of my girls worked really hard on their campaigns and deserved to be complimented for their efforts. Both were brave to put themselves out their in front of their whole schools.
Both girls had creative posters and great ideas on how to improve their schools. All these things were in their control. They could give their best efforts and feel good about them. Unfortunately, one of my daughter’s won while the other one didn’t. A lot of that was because of things out of their control… teacher evaluations, popularity vote, etc.
By focusing on the efforts instead of the outcome both girls felt proud of what they did and felt worthy and good about their efforts even when the outcome wasn’t all they hoped for.
- Finally, here’s a way to get the biggest bang for your buck when you compliment your teens. Your first interactions with your kids are really important for setting the tone of their day. Think first thing in the morning and the first time you see them after school each day. If you can start those periods of time out with a sincere compliment your time with your teen is going to be more positive overall. For the last month my husband made it his goal to have his first interactions with our kids each day be positive and uplifting.
- He said things like “I noticed you took out the garbage last night. Thank you! That makes our house feel much cleaner.”
- Or “I like that color shirt on you. It makes your eyes pop!”
- Or even “I’m so glad you are home. I love having you here. It makes my day better.”
Can I even tell you how much it has changed the tone in our home? The atmosphere feels lighter, my kids are more open to communication, correction is taken more easily and there is an abundance of positivity in our home. All this from two or three well timed compliments each day.
We should be our kids’ biggest cheerleaders. Their rah-rah mamas! When it comes to compliments we should try to make it rain!!