Interesting question, isn’t it, about praising children? Can too much praise spoil a child? I wonder if you’ve sometimes worried about overdoing the praising part with your child?
I must confess I’ve not only been guilty of doing it, but also regretted it.
Most times, we go by instinct. Praising a child is critical for her to cultivate positive behavior. In fact, it is a gentle and loving way to encourage building self-confidence in her abilities along with self-esteem.
Why is praising children important?
It is a great way to give her positive feedback, essentially letting her know what she’s doing is right, appreciating the effort regardless of whether the outcome is as expected. It is a good idea to make sure she’s appreciated for something every day. Ideally, it must be a behavior or action that deserves it.
Personally, I believe that encouragement is more important than praise. Of course, I’ve sat on the fence wondering whether I praised too little or too much. But I found myself focusing more on the question: am I encouraging as much as I should?
Unless we encourage, how will the child reach the stage where she can be praised? Growing up is a journey that involves learning along the way and as parents, it is our duty to steer our children in the right direction, encouraging them at every step.
Can too much praise actually spoil a child?
Here’s what I learned about giving praise, with a few tips to praise sincerely and reinforce positive behavior.
Praise is wonderful but too much can be a problem especially as the child can get used to it and take it for granted. After a point it stops being effective. While praise is great for developing confidence, too much has the opposite effect. It can even make the child conceited. Worse still, she starts expecting it so much at home that when she doesn’t receive it elsewhere, for example in school, she becomes confused.
It is important to be honest with our children, encouraging them when they need it and telling them the truth when what they are doing is not okay. This promotes understanding, appreciation and mutual respect. It turns them into responsible human beings with a healthy conscience.
As I tried my best to parent my son with love and logic, here are some things I learned along the way about giving praise:
- I learned to look at encouragement as the journey and praise as the destination.
- It is more important to recognize the effort, without obsessing over the mistakes and accepting them as part of growing up, while encouraging them to do better the next time. This will make them believe in themselves.
- Encouragement focuses on effort, involvement and enjoying the process, building confidence levels naturally
- When we offer honest feedback, our children respect us for it.
- It is okay for children to worry a little before they experience the joy of achievement
- As parents, we must acknowledge our children for who they are, rather than what we want them to be.
- Empathy is a big part of parenting where we share our children’s anxiety when they struggle with something
- At each stage, be alert to small improvements
- Ensure that expectations are realistic
- Nurture the positive
- Teach the value of discipline
- Be patient. Be very patient.
- Don’t be stingy with compliments
Compassionate parenting is mostly about encouragement. I like to see it as the fuel that motivates a child to progress in life, with a good attitude.
Some tips to praise sincerely and reinforce positive behavior
- Make eye contact
- Smile or hug
- Be specific about what you are praising her for
- Do not criticize
- If suitable, reward her
Celebrate your child as she grows into the unique human being she is, but do not hesitate to let her know if she did something wrong. Help her build a strong sense of self, while bonding with her in the process.
What are your thoughts on praising children? Do share in the comments!