Parents usually understand the need of praising child. But most of them don’t have much idea about the effective manner, timing and frequency of praising child. Studies and literature also have different opinion about this. Some experts recommend that we shall praise freely and lavishly, on the other hand few warn not to overdo the applause.

Both of the opinions seem correct as experts have strong premise to prove their argument.

First set of experts says it’s very important to praise children as it;

  • encourages them to improve
  • keeps them motivated
  • boosts their self esteem and confidence
  • helps get right behaviour repeated

Second set of experts warn not to praise too much because;

  • child will find it difficult to judge his/her work accurately
  • the more praise children receive, the more they rely on adult evaluations instead of forming their own judgments
  • they afraid to take risks and try new things for fear of not always being on top.
  • it can also lead to some children becoming overconfident
  • There is a great debate among experts about the effects of praise on children. This debate is not about praising or not praising rather difference of opinion is because of way of praise and amount of praise.

So let’s discuss five key points which will help us to draw a balanced approach.

1. Be Specific when Praising

Praise is much more than only saying “Good Boy” or “Good Girl”, be specific about what the praise is for. When you are not specific, they have a hard time understanding exactly what it is they have done well. Instead of saying “Wow, you did a great art work” say “Your choice of red & yellow colour has made this work great”

This way your child will also get to know that you are noticing his/her work, and will encourages him/her to do more.

2. Praise the efforts not only results

You can always point out improvement no matter how small e.g. “You really have picked up on your reading…Appreciate”. Highlight their effort “I can see you really tried hard to get it right”

If you are looking for improvement then you need to praise the efforts and don’t need to wait for results to praise. Praising efforts can encourage your child to try hard in the future.

3. Praise must be genuine and sincere

Keep it real: Don’t say, “Good job!” when it’s not. Even young kids can see right through false praise. Praise should reflect the amount of effort the child put in. Earned praise reinforces your child’s effort and is encouraging.

4. Praise the process/behaviour rather than the Child

“You’re such a good player” or “You have such a beautiful singing voice.” Be careful with this kind of praise which tends to focus on their inborn strengths/abilities. If he believes he arrived prepackaged with certain abilities, he might think he doesn’t need to improve in those areas.

It’s better to focus on process. In Process-based praise emphasize on what he can control, such as how much time he spends on a project or which strategies he uses.

“I am so impressed at how hard you worked on your science project” is more empowering than “Wow, you’re good at science !”

5. Accentuate the Positive

Respond to wanted behaviors of your child more than you punish unwanted behaviors. The key to getting great results is to pay attention to “what’s going right” rather than “what’s going wrong”

Try to eliminate constant negativity around and put the focus on all the wonderful, positive things your children are doing instead. Catch them doing right things and appreciate them immediately.

Praising your child is an art and you can master it by practicing above stated five points.

Happy Parenting !!

Manish Sharma

Parenting Coach

8 comments

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