Advice: Compliments foster healthy relationships

You might think that complimenting your spouse or your children isn’t necessary, but feeling appreciated and valued can make a huge difference in a relationship.

When you sincerely compliment those around you, it improves your communication skills and strengthens your relationships with those people.

Complimenting your children and spouse will make them feel valued and encourage them to cooperate — it spreads positive energy within the home.

Research shows that most of us will remember more negative things said to us than positive words. Bad memories and situations linger because they stimulate activity in a region of our brain that processes emotions.

In “Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery,” Russell Freedman wrote about Eleanor’s sad childhood. Her mother a beautiful New York socialite always made her daughter selfconscious about her looks.

She never complimented Eleanor and nicknamed her “Granny.” She often referred to her as plain and old fashion.

“You have no looks, so see to it that you have manners,” her mother said to her one day when she got in trouble in school.

“I was a solemn child without beauty.” Eleanor wrote, “I seemed like a little old woman entirely lacking in the spontaneous joy and mirth of youth.”

Eleanor was 8 years old when her mother died, and yet her words stayed with her forever. Think about how different her memories would have been if her mother had focused on the amazing daughter she had.

Compliments are easy to give and don’t take very much effort, and can create incredible benefits.

Always be genuine and positive when giving a compliment. Be specific, for example: compliment your child on something that isn’t obvious, like how you noticed how hard they worked on their school project, or on helping their dad mow the lawn.

The most important part of a compliment is the tone of voice you use and the warmth and kindness of the compliment.

Compliments are like sprinkling love over your family and friends. They make people feel good and lifts their spirits.

Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, and certified parent coach with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @ PowerOfFamily, Instagram mlsalcinespoweroffamily or contact her on her blog FamilyLifeAndFindingHappy.com.