Your Kids & House Plants They Both Have Feelings!

We have a guest post on our blog today from Roxanne Turner.  Roxanne is a Board Certified Life Coach with extensive training in ADHD and executive functioning, focusing on the process of getting things done.


In the 1960’s, Cleve Backster, a retired CIA agent, and the inventor of the polygraph was sitting in his office. He wondered if plants have feelings? He connected his polygraph to his office plant. Then, he proceeded to shower his green leafed companion with both positive and negative thoughts. The plant reacted. The polygraph detected electrical impulses from the plant like that of humans. Later, he proceeded to test all kinds of plants to see if they would have similar reactions. If this story seems too ludicrous for you, check out this youtube from Myth Busters.

If plants are reacting to our thoughts, what happens to our kids when they consistently hear what they are doing wrong instead of what they do right?  Acknowledging and reinforcing the good our kids do is just as important as correcting the not so good.

So where do you start?

Here’s a simple exercise to help get you started. Put 10 pennies in one pocket. Every time you catch your kids doing something right, no matter how small, provide them with some specific praise. When you’ve done this, move one of the pennies to the other pocket. At the end of the day, count how many pennies are in the opposite pocket? If the majority of the pennies haven’t moved to the other side of your pants, “Houston we have a problem.”

Why does positive reinforcement work? Research shows that genuine encouragement reduces a child’s stress levels and creates a safe environment where learning can take place.[1]

So take the time to find opportunities to catch your kids doing something right and show your appreciation. By focusing on what the child is doing right you are increasing the likelihood the behavior you are looking for will be repeated. Experiment for a week and see if your kids’ behavior changes over time. And if you are so inclined, whisper sweet nothings to your house plant and see if it grows a little faster or seems a bit fuller.



[1] Karyn Purvis, PhD., David R Cross, PhD.. and Wendy Lyons Sunshine The Connected Child (McGraw Hill Books, 2017) 146.