Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Not to Praise Your Kids

Some parents in their enthusiasm to make the child happy praise more than the child deserves. This could result in two things. Either the child feels what he’s doing is enough. And consequently may not apply more effort to improve. Or the child could begin feeling that he doesn’t deserve it or feels indirect pressure by parents to do better.

Don’t be reserved when you praise a kid, but don’t overdo it too, I heard my grandmother tell a neighbor when I was about seven or eight. How true!

Some parents think that good words of appreciation should be limited to great achievements only. Sadly mistaken. A kid deserves (even looks forward to) a pat even when he runs an errand, lends a hand in cleaning the house or draws a cute cat in his notebook. Praise motivates like nothing else. It’s a healthy tonic. Invigorating, comfortable, spirit-lifting and positive. Makes one feel worthy.

Praise must always be proportionate to the achievement. Vow! Great. Fantastic. All will sound hollow if you’re telling this to your daughter who’s scored 60 percent in math. Doesn’t sound genuine, don’t you agree?

Everybody wants their effort to be rewarded. So always appreciate the work, act or service. Not the individual. Don’t be too judgmental, evaluating his character. This could put him in the defensive mode. ‘Job well done. You’ve made the home dust-free. I can already breathe a lot better now’.

Sounds genuine. There’s warmth in what you say. And he’ll feel good.
Make it a little physical. Caress, pat or put a hand on the shoulder. ‘ Stroking’ leaves a positive impact.

No ifs and buts please
Be clear and straightforward in your approbation. Don’t stick another condition at the end of it. ‘Great sonny. You’ve given ‘Roger’ a good bath. He’s fresher than before. But, you haven’t cleaned the ticks. Next time don’t forget that. No use of a bath till then’.

You son would feel better if you didn’t open your mouth. So keep the rest for another day. For now, just praise the work done.

Don’t pressure your kid
Never praise your daughter so that she’ll live up to it. Chances are that stress and anxiety could slow down her performance. Avoid ‘playing games’ with them.

Take the Praise Quiz
1. When your child wins a competition, do you
a. Secretly admire the neighbors praising your child
b. Play down the achievement
c. Pat your son and tell him how much you love

2. If your child shows you a picture he’s just drawn, do you
a. Tell him its not the time to draw
b. Tell the kid he can draw better
c. Cuddle him and compliment the details of the picture

3. Do you praise so that
a. Your son will perform better next time
b. He will feel encouraged
c. Your neighbor will feel proud of you

4. Do you compliment with
a. Words only
b. Pat, caress and say a few words
c. Hardly compliment

5. When people praise your child for making a toy car model, you say
a. Ah! This is just the beginning
b. He must concentrate on studies
c. He’s very passionate about car modeling and reads a lot on the subject

1. c
2. c
3. b
4. b
5. c


  1. Good one Raj.. I was wondering how we grew well despite the brickbats...Exceptional i guess..May be..


  2. I love this post! Words of appreciation are truly important and using them in the correct way is even more important. I particularly like your point about praising in proportion to achievement. Fantastic!

    You have obviously given this subject a lot of thought and it was great that you are sharing your knowledge with others.

    To your magnificence!
    Andrea Woolcomf
    Founder, Ignite Your Life Book
    Co-Founder, Wake Up Abundant
    Ambassador of Manifest Money, HowtoLiveonPurpose.