Encouragement Is Better Than Praise

Many parents feel that praising their child is good parenting – the sign of an involved, caring mom or dad.
But praise can undermine a child’s well-being and interfere with her sense of self-worth and resilience. Instead, encouragement is better. Consider the differences.

Praise is usually given for accomplishment or success. What happens when your child doesn’t get the best grade or his team loses?

Children may actually learn that what they do is more important than who they are. Or that we parents are counting on them to make us happy and proud.

Children may actually start to work for the “reward” of praise.

When they lose or get a bad grade, they may feel disappointed in themselves because they don’t believe they measure up.

How many adults are still trying to please others to get that affirmation, rather than looking inside themselves for happiness?

The next time you are proud of your child’s work, keep these suggestions in mind.

Be specific.
“The table got set much faster with your help. Thank you!”
“You noticed I needed help with the groceries and you came right out.”

Focus on the process rather than the outcome.
“I noticed you used reds and yellows in your painting.”
“You looked like you were having such fun!”
“You really stuck together as a team!”
“I saw you helping Sam with his pitches. He seemed to appreciate it!”

Focus on qualities of character rather than results.
“You didn’t quit. You just kept trying. That’s really important!”
“You were honest.”
“I respect your sense of loyalty to your friends.”
“That was a tremendous effort. I see how dedicated you are to this.”

It seems like a little thing, but the words you choose can create confidence or fear, independence or dependence, or can help a child to look inside himself for motivation rather than outside.

To learn more, check out workshops and classes, or call Growing Peaceful Families at 859-333-3053.