The Best Intentions


Good Intentions Gone Right

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Here’s how to create genuine, empowering relationships that help
children sense their infinite worth in Jesus’ eyes–as reflected by

• Respect children as you do adults, setting appropriate
Communicate to children that they’re worthy by
speaking to them in the same tone you use with their parents. Speak
to them at eye-level, be polite, and honor their space. Set
age-appropriate rules. Children feel safest when they have clearly
defined boundaries (“We give hugs, not hits.” “Raise your hand when
you want to talk.”)

When disciplining inappropriate behavior, disapprove of the
behavior–not the child. To a concrete-thinking child, “Good girls
don’t lie” might be interpreted as “I’m not good because I lied.”
An empowering alternative would be to say, “Shauna, I know you’re a
very caring and honest person, but you just made a bad choice and
told a lie. What can you do to help Emily forgive you?”

• Catch children behaving well, and call attention to what
they’re doing.
Be objective, specific, and genuine.
Children feel valued when someone simply takes interest in them;
therefore, praise isn’t always necessary: “I noticed you shared
your new truck with Pedro today” or “I caught you using your
manners. That was very respectful!”

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• Teach children to give and receive compliments.
Genuine compliments from peers are priceless and contagious. They
can also be uncomfortable if a child isn’t accustomed to hearing
them. So teach Sara that when Hector says her outfit is pretty,
he’s trying to honor her. Explain that by responding with a simple
“Thank you,” Sara builds up Hector with respect and

• Position children for success. Create tasks that
are achievable yet challenging for kids. Appoint Wiggly Wyatt as
the line leader so he can be the first to stand and walk to the
door. Shy Shonda can make an important contribution to class by
setting the table for snack while the others wash hands. Gradually
encourage kids to try increasingly challenging tasks.



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