Warm fuzzies, also known in the 1960s as "positive strokes," is something that parents who want to raise emotionally healthy children cannot do without.

Warm fuzzies come in verbal and non-verbal forms. Verbal warm fuzzies are words that feel good to children; non-verbal warm fuzzies are good-feeling actions.

As we saw previously, smiles, tender touches, gifts and friendly play are some of the non-verbal good stuff that children appreciate.The verbal fuzzies are praise, positive programming and emotional coaching.


Praise is a most important parenting tool. It's better than punishment any day because it has more consistent, predictable positive results without any significant negative side-effects.Punishment, on the other hand, sometimes works and sometimes doesn't and it almost always involves a heavy cost (which we'll examine in detail later).

Kids love praise. They like to hear when they're on track, doing the right thing.

Most importantly, kids love praise. They like to hear when they're on track, doing the right thing.They like to know you're pleased and proud. Your praise keeps them coming back for more -- which is why they behave so much better when you reinforce their behavior with praise. What you praise is what you get.

Unfortunately, what you criticize is also what you get, so be careful!

The rule is: whatever you attend to is what you get. If you reinforce good behavior (whatever is desirable in your eyes) by giving praise and other kinds of positive attention, children will deliver more good behavior. Find the good behavior and comment on it constantly!A typical morning conversation could sound like this:

"Oh look how quickly you've gotten out of bed! Good for you! And I see you've got your clothes on already -- amazing! Nice job of making the bed today. Keep up the good work -- I'll see you in the kitchen in a few minutes ... Whoah -- how did you get down here so fast? You're really moving this morning! I bet you'll be ready long before that bus comes! I see you got your bowl all ready ... here, let me help you with the milk."

Keep praise specific -- tell your child exactly what you like. Avoid global statements like "you're a good boy/girl." These are not only useless (because they don't give the child enough information about what he/she needs to do) but they can also be dangerous, leading the child to fear that mistakes and human failings equate with "badness."

Keep praise pure -- don't mix it in with negative statements. Avoid using "but" as in: "I like the way you're using a fork but I don't like the way you're eating with your mouth open."

The word "but" is an eraser, wiping out the praise part of your statement.

The word "but" is an eraser, wiping out the praise part of your statement. If absolutely necessary, make several separate statements, perhaps, "I like the way you're using a fork!That's the way to eat!If you also chew with your mouth closed, you'll be Mr. Good Manners himself!"

Remember -- our most powerful parenting tool is specific praise.Use it liberally.It doesn't cause swelled heads or any other infirmities.It does cause children to do more of what you want them to do!

Warning: Although you can use as much praise as you want, always use an equal amount of unconditional positive attention.If the only positive attention a child receives is conditional (he earned it because of his good behavior), he'll actually feel unloved!

Make sure at least half of his positive attention is given freely, no strings attached, no qualifying conditions required.

In other words, tell him and show him that you love him for no reason at all!Half of your hugs, kisses, gifts and kind words can be given because he deserves them (he did something right) and half of this stuff must be given as he walks by or otherwise "exists" in your presence.


When praising a child, we can go just one step further in order to exponentially increase our parenting power.That step is "positive programming."

You're a hypnotist. During your children's first 10 or 15 years, they are in a sort of a trance and are extremely impressionable. You hypnotize your children.Tell them they're stupid and they'll think they are.Tell them they're selfish, and they'll absorb it completely.

Whatever you say, goes -- deep down, where it will haunt your children for the rest of their lives.

Whatever you say goes. Deep into their little unconscious minds. Deep, deep down, where it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Of course, we can use our power to hypnotize in a positive way as well. We can help our children leave childhood believing that they're clever, responsible, helpful, kind, courageous, considerate, prompt, strong, determined, patient, organized and otherwise wonderful. It all depends on what we say.

Make a list of the words you'd like to be able to use to describe your child when she's grown. Now, be sure to use those words daily in the time that you are raising her! This is "positive programming."

There is only one trick: the words must be attached to specific praise.Otherwise, they just aren't believable.When attached to praise for a behavior which the child knows he is doing, the character label becomes believable and therefore becomes absorbed into the child's self-concept. And positive self-concept leads to positive behavior.

Here is a half a dozen examples of what positive programming might sound like:

    "Thank you for taking out the garbage.That was very helpful of you.

    "Wow!You figured out how to fix the vacuum yourself? That was really clever of you!

    "You're ready for school already? You're really organized this morning!"

    "I see you gave your sister the doll. That was very kind of you."

    "You children have waited a long time for the doctor this morning. You've been very patient."

    "I like the way you listened right away. That was very cooperative."

Once absorbed into the self-concept, positive programming informs future behavior:

"I'm a helpful person, so I'll help clear the table."

"I'm a smart guy, so I can figure out this math problem."

"I'm a good dresser, so I can put together a great outfit."

"I'm an organized girl, so I'll be able to straighten out this mess in no time."

P.S.Positive programming works on spouses too!