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NIDA. (2019, October 23). Family Checkup. Retrieved from

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Encouragement is Key to building confidence and a strong sense of self and helps parents promote cooperation and reduce conflict. Many successful people remember the encouragement of a parent, teacher, or other adult. Consistent encouragement helps youth feel good about themselves and gives confidence to:

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  • Try new activities.
  • Tackle different tasks.
  • Develop new friendships.
  • Explore their creativity.

Practices That Are Discouraging

  • Being sarcastic or negative about a child’s ability to be successful.
  • Comparing a child to siblings and friends.
  • Taking over when a child’s progress is slow.
  • Reminding a child of past failures.

Encouragement Promotes a Strong Sense of Self Because it Sends Three Main Messages to Your Child:

You Can Do It! Youth believe they can do things if parents:

  • Help them break a problem down into smaller parts.
  • Remind them of their strengths and past successes.
  • Encourage them by sharing how they have dealt with challenges.

Examples of Encouraging Phrases

  • "I know that wasn’t easy."
  • "You did such an awesome job!"
  • "Keep on trying."
  • "You are very good at that."
  • "You are learning a lot."
  • "I like the way you did that."
  • "I can tell you’ve been practicing."
  • "It’s great to see you working so hard!"
  • "I’m so proud of you."

You Have Good Ideas! Youth believe they have good ideas if parents:

  • Ask them to share their opinions and feelings.
  • Listen to what they have to say.
  • Ask them for input concerning family plans and events.
  • Ask them for ideas to solve family problems.

You Are Important! Youth know they are important if parents:

  • Remember what they have told you.
  • Make time for them each day.
  • Attend school and extracurricular activities.
  • Let them know that you are thinking about them when you can’t be with them.
  • Display things they have made and recognitions they receive.