A feel-good, strengths-based focus on your family

A feel-good, strengths-based focus on your family


By Katrina Katen/Individual Matters


katrina katen 2

This past week marked the first session of the parenting class I teach at the Parenting Place. At the end of the session, I assigned a challenge to each family, which I’m also offering to you here.

This week, notice:

  • Five things your child does right, does well, or that warms your heart… and tell him/her about it. Be genuine!
  • Your favorite thing about him/her.
  • Two things he/she does really well.
  • Two heart-warming and/or funny memories. 

Before reading further, let’s put this challenge into action. Grab some scratch paper. Write down the names of your kids, and under each name answer the above questions.

Excellent! Now, go tell your kids!

Let’s talk about how this challenge relates to the parenting class…

The goal of parenting classes is to share a philosophy and skills for raising healthy, happy and responsible individuals. We strategize with parents about ways to enforce logical consequences. At home, this approach increases desirable behavior, promotes ownership and scaffolds the development of self-esteem. This process begins with catching kids “getting it right” and letting them know. 

Kids are awesome and amazing little creatures! We adults often get so caught up in managing the everyday hussle, bustle and stresses of busy lives that we tend to get bogged down by what goes wrong. As a result, we lose sight of the positives, such as what our kids do well and what we love most about them.   How often do you communicate to your child, with words and actions, how awesome, unique and truly wonderful he/she is? 

OK, now back to our list… Did you finish it? Did the exercise come easily or did it force you to really dig deep? Were you smiling or laughing while you thought about your child? Does your child know that you appreciate all these things about him/her? If not (and if so), go tell ‘em! 

If you already tell your kids what you love about them, keep it up!  Everybody loves praise and compliments. Nevertheless, most of us – and kids, especially – tend to receive more criticism and correction than praise. Can you think of a time today that you were complimented or praised at home or work? How about a time when you were criticized? How did it feel? Were you more or less motivated to perform when complimented or criticized?

This week, strive to remind your kids how awesome they are. Not only will doing so help them feel good, but this simple act of complimenting will also improve your mood and create a “ripple effect” throughout your family system. Our moods and feelings tend to follow our words, and feeling good is contagious.  Positive feelings are central to building positive relationships, and positive relationships are the foundation of happy, healthy and responsible families. 

I look forward to hearing how this week’s challenge impacts your family!

Dr. Katrina Katen is a local psychologist and owner of Individual Matters, LLC. With a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and a master’s degree emphasis in marriage and family therapy, she is passionate about all things psychology. Beyond her work,she loves spending time with her family and experiencing all that is offered in this beautiful state. Read her monthly on Healthy Mesa County.


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