According to relationship researcher John Gottman, that’s the “magic ratio.” When he observed couples over time, the number one predictor of happy, enduring relationships was an average of five positive interactions to every negative interaction.
Being a “5-to-1” parent isn’t easy. At bedtime last night, I was batting 1-to-3.
And when do our kids need our warmth the most? In the middle of homework stress, screentime battles, grocery store meltdowns, morning rush, bedtime drama, social flair-ups…
In other words, they need it the most when it’s the hardest to give.
Dr. Sharon Saline, an ADHD expert and an Intrepid Ed News parent columnist, once told me that she estimates the positive-to-negative feedback ratio for ADHD children is more like 1:15. Kids often feel like adults only notice when they “mess up,” not when they try, she said, so they grow wary of feedback.
“We have to pay attention to kids trying, even if they are not succeeding,” said Saline. “We have to focus on the process more than the product. When we notice that they are actually turning in homework four-fifths of the time when it used to be two-fifths? Well, that’s progress.”
So how do…