Praising Children the Right Way
It’s no secret that praising your children is an important part of their growth and development, especially if you want them to be confident in their abilities. However, while nearly every parent praises his or her child at some point, it’s important to make sure you’re doing it correctly. The following are some of the most common mistakes made when praising your child, and different approaches that will make those kind words even more effective for your child.
Over and Under Praising
While it may seem as if praising your child for every little accomplishment is a good thing, the reality is that it can backfire. Heaping praise for everyday activities can actually cause young children to think they need absolute validation of all of their activities. Additionally, this over-praising can lead to children being afraid of trying new things out of fear that they won’t receive that same validation if they aren’t successful with their attempt.
Under praising, however, can be just as bad. Failing to recognize when your child does do a great job at something can lead him or her to feel as if there is no point in trying to stretch their abilities to try something new. He or she may also begin feeling as if you don’t care, or that their abilities are not good enough to warrant praise.
In either situation, the results are certainly not what any parent wants for his or her children. The goal is to make sure to praise your child when he or she truly pushes their abilities or obviously works hard to accomplish a goal. Whether that’s giving his all at every practice, or making the effort to clean up the house without being forced to do so, acknowledging real accomplishments will help your child’s confidence grow.
Ability Vs Effort
When it comes to trying new things, many children are always concerned they just won’t be good enough. If your child tries something new, make sure you are praising his or her effort, rather than the ability to do the activity. Not every child can make every basket or catch every ball as soon as they walk on the field, and there are some children who may never be a perfect player. However, if your child goes on that field and gives it her all, regardless of whether the team wins or loses, she deserves praise for putting forth the effort. By the same token, if your child wanders aimlessly around the field and puts in little to no effort, he or she should not receive praise, even if the team wins. This method of praising effort rather than ability will help your child understand that effort makes a greater difference than actual ability any day.
Praising Automatic Activities
While it always makes us proud as parents when our children do things without being told to do so, praising this behavior may not be the best method. If your child habitually studies every night, or keeps his or her room clean, giving praise once in a while is a great idea. However, constantly praising these types of habits will eventually lead to your child expecting the reward, and if it isn’t given, he or she might stop doing those things. If your child does go out of his way to offer help, or does something that he or she normally doesn’t do, praise is warranted to show how much you appreciate it.
Praising our children is a natural reaction, but making sure you are doing so properly will have a much greater impact on their confidence and desire to try new things.