Stroke and Discount

Stroke represents stimulation and praise. Messages that contain strokes acknowledge a person's existence. Here are some examples:

   You are the best mom's/dad's boy/girl.

   Mom is very happy that she gave birth to you.

   You know, Dad enjoyed playing/hanging out with you.

Discount is the opposite of stroke – the lack of stimulation, ignoring and thereby the negation of a person's existence. I will provide some examples below:

   Shut up and be ashamed/don't wanna hear a word from you.

   I'll show you!

  (The child has done something good/creative, achieved success.) The parent's reaction is missing. (As if taken for granted, the parent has no time to stop and notice, etc.)

A developmental delay in children may be caused by growing up in such or similar conditions. A degree of influence on a child also depends on how frequent and powerful the discounting is. In order to get the necessary attention and satisfy their natural need for strokes, children find different ways to attract attention. Thus, they can go to extremes, catching attention with their negative behaviors. Therefore, it can be concluded as follows:

   Even negative stimulation is needed for survival.

   Ignoring is the strongest form of punishment.

   A negative stroke is better than a discount!

Types of strokes

   Positive (pleasant) and Negative (unpleasant)

   Physical (touching) and Symbolic (messaging)

   Verbal (words) and Nonverbal (gestures)

   Conditional (must be earned) and Unconditional (just for being)

   Conditional Stroke and Discount = BEHAVIOR (must be earned by what you do)

   Unconditional Stroke and Discount = BEING (obtained for what you are regardless of behavior)


In the process of upbringing, but also in life itself, it is very important to make a difference between BEING and BEHAVING.

I will give an example with regard to children. Let's say that a child accidentally knocked and broke something down while playing, maybe due to carelessness, maybe due to being carried away by the play, and maybe on purpose. Usually, the first impulse is to scold the child for being no good, for being careless, or even the labels such as clumsy, stupid, and the like may be heard. When such messages are received, the child experiences them personally and accepts them in relation to his/her being. Over time, the child in this position develops a lack of self-esteem and loses his/her self-confidence. The correction recommended hereby would be to address the child's behavior as inappropriate, while the child is your child and as such he/she will ALWAYS be OK, WORTH, and LOVED no matter what he/she does.

From this point of view, you can conclude that we were all children undergoing more or less successful parenting/upbringing models of our parents or parental figures. So, there is no doubt that the relationship with our parents and other authorities has influenced us to consciously or unconsciously shape our own parenting style. If we happen to unconsciously repeat some behaviors of our parents (and they did their best, since they also inherited and internalized the parenting style of their parents), then we tend to repeat exactly those that are dysfunctional, which may result in developing a predisposition for children to grow up with some developmental deficits and doubting their own value and their right to love.

In my opinion, this is a great indicator of how crucial it is to work on ourselves to bypass our dysfunctional aspects, which are redundant here and now. Thus, through the process of parenting and raising children, we allow ourselves to enjoy and implement a new approach toward our relationship and life with children (and towards ourselves as well), which can bring us greater satisfaction and abundance of happiness and joy.
Anita Marković