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Effective Praise

by Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff


Every parent knows the importance of praise for kids. But many do not praise their children enough. Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul once sited a study that followed a group of two-year olds around for a day. The results found that the average child received 432 negative statements and only 32 positive statements every day.

Praise needs to be given to encourage children. Judy H. Wright, Parent Educator, author and international speaker says, “Encouragement is the process of focusing on your children’s assets and strengths in order to build their self-confidence and feelings of worth. I like to think of the word encourage broken into “en” courage meaning I am giving you the gift of courage.”

Through praise we let our children know that we appreciate their efforts not just their accomplishments and that our love and acceptance is not dependent on their behavior. Praising children encourages them to keep trying. It helps develop confidence and imparts a feeling of being loved, appreciated, and cared for.

Any praise for a kid is good but specific praise is more effective. Ray Burke, Ph.D. and Ron Herron in their award-winning book, Common Sense Parenting, talk about using “effective” praise. This means using specific praise instead of general comments like “Great!” or “Good job!”

Effective praise addresses the action that your child is being praised for. “If your child calls you up from a friend’s house to let you know he will be getting home late, don’t let such an action go unnoticed. Instead of just saying something general like ‘Good job,’ say, ‘It is very responsible of you to call me and let me know you will be late.’” You have pointed out the good behavior and told your son why he deserved the praise. Effective praise is more likely to elicit repeat good behavior then general praise.

My daughter loves to draw pictures. Instead of telling her the picture looks good I try and point out a specific thing that I like. Commenting on her use of color, or the great way she drew herself. This increases her confidence in her drawing ability much more than a general “It’s nice.” Also look for other tips to make a confident child.

Try using some effective praise with your children and see the difference that it can make.