Parenting Tip: Praise Efforts, Not Results

Praising your kid is not bad, in fact it is important. But is your praise having a negative effect on the development of your child?

We parents are always in look out for things that they have done well. It feels good when we see their achievements and we can’t wait to tell them how good they are in doing so. It’s a way of showing love and encouragement to them. But what matters more is the way we praise and what we praise them for. Children are extremely happy when they are praised. Hence you would notice how they perform the same or similar activities to gain more praise. To avoid failure, instead of trying harder tasks, they will stick to the tasks that are easy and that they are confident of. They are scared to try new things.

Way to Praise
We should use positive words and emotions. Praise should be intentional and specific. When we say “You’re a good boy”, it doesn’t let the child know what they did well. They want to know exactly what makes them good because that is when they can do it again. The main idea is we should praise children for their effort, not their intelligence. Praise them when they try. This communicates the idea that effort is good.

As per a research, telling kids they are smart will decrease their performance while those children who are told they are hard workers will IMPROVE their performance. Praise kids for something they can easily control — the amount of effort they put in.

When you praise a kid for being smart, they consider it as a talent – you either have it or you don’t. They will not try further than that because they already think either they can do it or they can’t.  But if you praise a kid for his effort, he or she is more likely to choose challenges and work harder.

For more on this topic, do read the parenting book “NurtureShock” by Bronson and Merryman. Another good read is “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.


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