Praise is one of those things you want to lavish on your children. After all, the world will be indifferent enough. Someone should be in their corner. In fact, praise is a wonderful thing. You just want to watch how you do it.
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We've talked about praising process instead of the person before, and what works with adult feedback applies to children, too. Parenting Science points out that when you praise a child's abilities (intelligence, strength, and so on) it can cause them to focus on looking good rather than performing. This can make your praise backfire on you.
For example, consistently praising a child for being smart can set up a desire in them to not disappoint you (and themselves) by failing a task. It becomes easier to not try or not challenge themselves in an effort to avoid that.
Kids praised for their efforts rather than their abilities tend to prefer tasks that are more challenging and are more interested in learning new ways to succeed. So, what's the most effective kind of praise? According to Parenting Science:
- Praise your child for her strategies (e.g., "You found a really good way to do it")
- Praise your child for specific work (e.g., "You did a great job with those maths problems")
- Praise your child for his persistence or effort (e.g., "I can see you've been practicing" and "Your hard work has really paid off")
Hit the full article for more tips.
Praise and intelligence: Why telling kids they are smart makes them act dumb [Parenting Science]