What's your attention style relating to your preteen or teen child?
Positive unconditional: You pay attention to the ‘being’ of the child.
E.g., “I love that you are my daughter.”
Positive conditional: You pay attention to a specific task or behaviour that your kid has executed well.
E.g., “You exhibited great patience with Grandpa.”
Negative conditional: You pay attention to the specific lousy execution or behaviour.
E.g., “I didn’t like the way you organised your shelf. Here let me show you how it needs to be done.”
Negative unconditional: You invalidate the entire character or existence of a child.
E.g., “You are so stupid.” or “I don’t know why I had you.”
For a healthy character to be shaped in your children, you need to give plenty of the first two kinds and a healthy dosage of the third while staying clear of the fourth.
Remember, don’t convert a behavioural mistake into a character flaw through a wrong choice of wording. You might end up paying a heavy price later on.