Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Science of Healthy Praise

Numerous studies show that children who have close, supportive relationships with their parents are better off. They are healthier, less likely to be involved in risky behaviors, have higher self-esteem, and are more successful in school. However, over praising can can have negative effects on a child's self-esteem and confidence as well.  Here are 5 tips to help ensure your praising is empowering an motivating to your children!

1. Be aware of your child's development level: Young children thrive on praise as it encourages them to explore on their own. Praise helps them develop problem solving skills and persistence. Older kids may actually perceive praise in a negative way as they develop their own perception of motives.

2.  Be sincere and specific with your praise: Insincere praise may harm self-esteem, damage relationships, and give your children the impression that you don't really understand them. Using sincere and specific praise will validate to your children that you are being involved and attentive towards their efforts. 

3. Praise kids only for traits they have the power to change: Praising kids for intelligence, beauty, talent, or other areas they don't have the ability to change can cause a fear of making mistakes. It’s as if they are afraid to do anything that might make them fail and lose your high appraisal. Rather then praising ability, focus on things that they have the power to change (like their effort or strategy). 

4. Beware of over-praising kids for what they like to do anyways: There is nothing wrong with praising your children for things they like to do. However, it is important to not over do it, especially in older children. If you praise them every time they do something they enjoy it may actually decrease their motivation!

5. Emphasize the effort, not the outcome: It is important to show support and praise children both when they succeed and when they fail. By praising the effort, you can help encourage: progress, a strong work ethic, enthusiasm, and healthy self-esteem!

Check out this article and this Hanen Centre article for tips on how to praise your kids!

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