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I often hear from other women about compliments and how they have a hard time giving them. Not because they don’t want to or because they don’t think the nice things. I think we all think nice things all the time–we just don’t say them nearly as often as we think them.


Then the conversation turns to how silly it is that we don’t just say the compliment we are thinking because what does it hurt? How hard is it?


The other night, I attended a class on marriage. The presenters had some tips on parenting also. One thing the woman talked about was levels of communication. I won’t go into all of it, but she pointed out that complimenting a person is a deeper level of communication, and one that often makes us uncomfortable. The reason is we feel vulnerable when we compliment, so people really only feel comfortable complimenting if they feel secure in the relationship. She then pointed out the importance of complimenting our spouses and our children, and that if done so, it would bring our relationships closer together.


That sparked an idea in my head. My husband was with me in the class and agreed to my idea.


Here is our newest family tradition. I can’t yet testify to the power of the tradition–we haven’t been doing it long enough. But I have seen such wonderful results so quickly, and I feel like it is such a great idea, that I didn’t want to wait to tell you. I want you to know now. It is very simple.


Each night at family prayer, we kneel in a circle (this is old tradition). The new part is we now each offer a compliment to another member of the family. I think the easiest way to do this would to go down the line and on the first night, everyone compliments Dad. The next, everyone compliments Mom. Next, Brayden, etc. It would be esaiest to remember who gets the compliments that night.


But I think it would be very beneficial to the family to each get a compliment each day.


So we are rotating. Night one went like this:


Mom complimented Dad

Dad complimented Brayden

Brayden complimented Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn complimented McKenna

McKenna complimented Mom


Night two:


Mom complimented Brayden

Dad complimented Kaitlyn

Brayden complimented McKenna

Kaitlyn complimented Mom

McKenna complimented Dad


So each night, the right column moves up one. This is similar to how many families alternate gift exchanges from Christmas to Christmas. 


Do you want to know what McKenna said to me night one? “I like that you are a friend of Jesus.” Isn’t that one of the sweetest things a child could say to a parent? 


I encourage you to try it. My children just light up when they hear the compliment given them. 

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Kendra L.
    February 15, 2012 / 5:59 PM

    That is the sweetest thing that she said!! Interesting aspect of complimenting that I hadn't thought of before: being vulnerable and comfortable in a relationship. Thanks!

  2. Emily
    February 15, 2012 / 10:56 PM

    Love this idea! We did reasons we love each other for vday but what a nice daily activity!!!!

  3. Plowmanators
    February 18, 2012 / 8:22 PM

    You are welcome! It has really increased how much information brayden is willing to spontaneously share.

  4. Tara
    February 18, 2012 / 8:30 PM

    What a great idea!! I will keep this in mind for when my kiddos are a little older.

  5. Kristy Powers
    March 1, 2012 / 9:31 PM

    Wow, that really is an amazing comment from your McKenna. It always surprises me how much our five-year-old son appreciates compliments. He gives heartfelt thank-yous whenever someone compliments him. I like your observation that Brayden will share more things now – what a great thing to learn.

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