The Power of “Thank You”

How often have you heard this advice:

Take a few seconds in your marriage—or any relationship for that matter—and simply say "Thank you."

I imagine you've heard that suggestion a few times. So, let me ask you a fairly blunt question:

How many times in the past week did you say "Thank you" to your husband or wife? ​

For those of you who frequently—and sincerely—thank your spouse, here is a "high five!"

We seem to have so much to do these days and so many other things on our minds to also get done, we do not take the time to do some of the "little" but powerful things to improve our relationships.

Your spouse cooks a great dinner. You could give her (or him) a fast "thanks" at the end of the meal, or you could stand up and get right up in front of her (or him) and say, "Thank you, honey, for that wonderful dinner!"

​When your spouse reaches over and hands you the salt or the newspaper or an item of clothing, you could take for granted that simple act OR you could say, "Thanks" and include a big smile! Did that take long? Did we lose any time in our hectic day when we said "thank you" and meant it?

Of course not.

It's the intention here that counts.

Do we want to demonstrate to our spouse that we appreciate them and appreciate ​what they do? Hopefully yes.  

A very simple way to do this is with a frequent use of the two words "Thank you" ...and feel free to throw in a big smile as a bonus. 

There are many ways to say "Thank you." The husband brings her wife flowers and the wife wonders "what's the occasion?"​ The husband says, "just wanted to say thank you for all of the wonderful things you do."

The wife cooks a completely off the charts dinner one night and the husband here wants to know what the occasion is. The wife simply lets him know how much she appreciates him and everything he does! ​

My apologies to any readers who feel I've stereotyped men and women here by these last two examples—but I give these solely as examples of expressing appreciation.

Here's my very strong belief:

The more often you and your spouse find sincere ways to communicate your "thanks" to each other, the brighter your marriage will be.​

54% of Children Ask Google Before Parents or Teachers

While watching the news this morning the following image came across the screen:

 


The majority of kids in this survey indicated they went to Google first before asking their parents or teachers.

Very interesting.

I do have concerns about the validity of surveys conducted these days. If I don’t know the exact questions that were asked, how they were asked, how they found the people to survey, what kind of training did the people conducting the survey have, etc., then I do not fully accept the survey results. I think it’s healthy to be a bit skeptical of surveys.

But moving on, this survey does have a ring of truth to it, doesn’t it. Our kids have moved further away from actual, in-person communication and are more and more immersed in the world of devices. Computers, laptops, iPad, iPods, smart phones, X Boxes, you name it. Use of text messaging has gone into the stratosphere with our kids.

It’s not important to me that it’s 54% of kids 6-15 as I accept the fact that this is a real situation. Read more »

Does Your Child Whine?

Whining jpgFirst things first, let’s decide what whining is and what whining isn’t.

If your baby is hungry, an item of clothing is pinching him, a diaper needs changing, this is different than a toddler sitting in a shopping cart demanding that you buy that candy bar.

We’re talking here about a child who can understand what you’re saying. Now I believe even a baby understands what you’re saying, but we’ll discuss that in another post.

So when your child doesn’t get his or her way and starts whining, what do you do?

Well, of course, you can simply just give in and let the child have whatever it is he wants. When the child whines and we’ve got a ton of things on our mind, we may just go ahead and give in.

I’m not here to tell you that you should “never give in” but I do believe you can get your child’s agreement to change his conduct. Let’s look at an example:

Read more »

How Did My Child Get So Disrespectful?

Disrespectful_child This is a question too many parents are asking these days. And it seems the age at which this problem manifests is getting younger and younger.

Let's look at some of the apparent reasons for this:

  1. Peer pressure. Kids tend to emulate what the "other" kids are doing so if they observe their friends being disrespectful to their parents, this makes it easier for them to follow suit.
  2. Turbulent school environment. If the scene at school is rough and kids are learning not-so-wonderful character traits, this can rub off at home.
  3. Parents not around. When both parents work or spend too much time away from home, some children find ways to let their parents know they object to this. Disrespect may certainly be one of these ways.

Each one of the above most certainly can be factors, but let me suggest another possibility:

Read more »

When a Child Wants to Help…

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is not recognizing when a child wants to help. Being in small bodies, they are not going to offer the same kind of help that a fully grown person does, but they will make the effort. And when that effort is not recognized AND acknowledged, then the child will start to “help” in ways you don’t appreciate.

I’ve seen this with my own eyes: A child around two years old is sitting in a shopping cart. He takes an item from the cart and tries to place it on the conveyor belt to the cashier. The unaware mom stops the child from doing this and says, “that’s okay, honey, I’ll take care of that.” Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many moms yell at their child for attempting this. Perhaps the mom is worried the child will drop the item. Perhaps the mom is in a hurry. Perhaps the mom is just stressed out.

Now we turn to the mom who sees this seemingly insignificant act as a real effort on the child’s part to HELP. The child wants to contribute in some way. She’s small, but she can grab onto some item in the shopping cart and TRY to get that item onto the conveyor belt. The smart mom observes what is happening and let’s the child complete this act of contribution. If the child is having difficulty pulling it off, the mom helps out in a way that allows the child to still take “ownership” of the help that’s being offered.

When the helpful act is accomplished, the mom gives the child a very hearty thank you (and maybe even a hug). The child gets that her help is appreciated and will continue to deliver this kind of help in the future. Parents allow the child to complete these acts of help and acknowledge the child each time for doing so.

As mentioned earlier, the child who has this line of help and contribution cut off by the mom or the dad (or siblings) will find other ways to “help.” The child will do things that are a bit (or very) destructive. This will certainly get a response. Not the response the parent or the child really wants, but a response nevertheless.

Give your child the freedom to contribute and you will be doing your child (and your marriage) a great service.


More ideas on bringing up children in my book When the Thrill Is Gone. Ebook version is currently available at no charge.