West Ridge Academy Discusses The Importance Of Recognition

Posted on March 3, 2012
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Your youngest daughter makes an effort to buss the table, but leaves out a small spot. Your teenager helps you in tending the garden but accidentally drops the pot with one of your favorite flowers in it. You ask your husband to bring you a mascara and he brings you a mardi gras mask. How do you respond? Is your instinct telling you to grill them with criticism immediately? Or do you praise the effort? Are you able to point out the positive effort?

How many times have you heard statements like this? “You always see the negative things first!” Well, I have – coming from my won family and our students here in West Ridge Academy. When I’m not in a defensive mood, I must admit that they are right. I simply don’t put enough effort into telling my children, my wife, or my students that I appreciate the positive things that they do. I know I recognize the positive things and think about how well they are doing, but somehow I forget to tell them. As soon as I realize this, I immediately feel the guilt and commit to myself that I will make a conscious effort towards recognizing them the next time around.

What role does positive recognition play in our relationships? Studies reveal that positive reinforcement is way more likely to influence consistent good behavior than punishments. In short, if we praise kids for the good things that they have done, it is more likely that we will see them do it over and over again. Our children at West Ridge need our praise even more because many harbor the belief that they will never amount to what we want them to, thus creating a cycle of failure. In fact, a study recently conducted in West Ridge reveals that in order for our programs to succeed, we must use positive reinforcement.

In that study, 42 subjects composed of students, parents and staff were asked to share their experiences in West Ridge and which factors led to their Change of Heart and the program’s ultimate success. The development of relationships inside and outside the campus was cited as a vital component towards achieving real change, and the recognition of change within yourself and that of others is a critical part in building these relationships.In our program, for confidence to grow between parents and child, one thing that needs to happen is “seeing” the change that is happening. And in order to help that change to continue, it should be reinforced as something that is desirable.

To make that happen, West Ridge Academy suggests the following pointers:

1.The recognition or praise should be deserved. Most people don’t like to be patronized, and we can usually tell when somebody is faking it.
2.Recognizing even the small changes are important. Simply acknowledging effort reinforces the good that is happening, even when there is much more that needs to be done.
3.Teach your mind to notice the positive things. Too often our first reaction is to notice the bad so we can correct it. We should alter the way we think and try to focus on the positive things that are happening all around us, including those coming from our children.
4.Confer with leaders, teachers, and others, “what were the good things that happened this week which I wasn’t fortunate enough to see?” Oftentimes they can be your eyes and ears. If others will not tell you, then you may have probably missed it permanently.
5.Do not gush praise so much that it loses its power. Sometimes we get so excited to praise that we go overboard and the praise can become so prolific that it: 1) overshadows the work that needs to be done, and 2) doesn’t appear genuine because everything receives praise. Either way, it’s critical for recognition to be given in moderation and only when it’s absolutely deserved.

This may be a shift from the way many of us are. But to just go through the process and make the effort in trying to recalibrate our perception and also the way we communicate our affections will all be worth it. You only have to reminisce back to those times when you got praised, even if you did not expect it, and recall the huge boost that it gave to your self-confidence, and your longing to get that praise back all over again. The recognition of progress is not a wonder drug that can cure all the ills of a relationship, but it is a vital step towards generating a positive concept of one’s self which is very important for our children and even for us.


Mormon Tabernacle Choir at West Ridge Academy
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