Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Be specific in your Praise

Another tip from our experienced parents, and newly empty-nesters.  When you praise your children, be very specific.  Also be careful about the kind of praise you give.  If you are constantly saying to your "cute" little girl.  You are so cute.  What message are you really sending.   Is being cute all that is important to you?  Is that her talent?   The example was given of a girl who was told this constantly by friends and family and at the young age of 2 or 3 she was spending much too long in front of the mirror getting ready in the morning because she wanted to make sure she was cute.  Praise that would be more beneficial to your child could be, "Wow, look at your drawing, you worked hard on that."  or "Thank you for helping today in the kitchen, you are a great helper."
The wife cited a study about the difference praise from others can really effect a child's thinking and then behavior.  I found an article that references the study, I'll do a quick summary and then you can follow the article link and read more if you are interested (it is very well written).  
Basically a study was done on two different fifth-grade classrooms.  Both equally smart children.  After performing a test out in hallway half the children were praised with "You must be smart at this", and the other half were praised with "you must have worked really hard."  Those who were praised fro the intelligence in the end of the study always chose the easy questions and opted out of the hard problems.  The opposite group were not afraid of trying harder problems and were not afraid of getting the answers wrong.  
I know I can really work on this, with all of my own children.  Being specific in what they do and how I appreciate them.  


  1. This is a great tip--and it works! I just need to use it more! Thanks for the reminder.

  2. I too need to praise more. I also have the problem of reprimanding in public. I need to remember to praise in public, reprimand in private. Of course praising in private is great also...just sayin'. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I totally agree about the public and private thing. It can be really hard when they are misbehavior in public. This would be a good post. I'll look into that and give some ideas later. I'll have to think on it!

  4. These are some really great ideas! We need to be teaching children values through teaching them what is valuable. Children need to understand that they are valued, not because of the way they look, but because of who they are.


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