Praise gets a bad rap

By Karen DeBolt | 9th Nov 2007 | Filed under Parenting, Techniques

Showing the excitement!!There’s been some discussions
around about how praising kids is bad and now encouraging kids is the thing to do.

I’ve been teaching, even preaching, the glories of specific praise for the last 5 years or thereabouts. I’m thinking that this might cause some confusion with the new research, but actually it’s all a matter of semantics rather than content.

It reminds me of all that talk about how building self-esteem is a bad thing now too. Puhleeese! But I will save that rant for another day.

Specific praise is not the same thing as the praise that the researchers are defining. Praise as they view it is more like compliments. “You are so pretty!” “What a great kid you are!” In other words, nice things, but fairly meaningless in the long run. If that is all you ever said to your child, then your child would probably have some issues to work out later in life around their worth in the world.

Encouragement is letting the child know that you acknowledge their efforts and believe in their ability to succeed. This is great stuff, and Specific Praise is slightly different.

To be clear specific praise is you describing in detail your child’s good behavior (the specific part) and using your voice inflection and volume and body language to transfer your enthusiasm (the praise part) to your child. It is giving healthy, positive attention.

I go into great detail about when and how to use specific praise in my free report “How to conquer bad Behavior without Stress” It comes free with my Calm the Chaos Newsletter which is emailed twice each month.

What do you find your kids respond to best – praise? Encouragement? Or specific praise?

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