How To Use Praise To Encourage Your Child

childhood praiseParents who take a positive approach to family wellness often try to boost their child’s self-confidence by using praise. A new study has shown, however, parents who want to encourage their children should attempt to praise the effort that the child is making, rather than the child themselves.

The study showed that when toddlers had parents who praised their efforts to complete a task, rather than praising them as individuals, they tended to respond more positively to further challenges in the future.

Part of the study also uncovered differences in the types of praise that parents offer to their children, depending on whether they are girls or boys.

Looked at in the context of wellness, this study seems to show that children’s wellbeing is improved based on the type of praise that they receive in early childhood. A determined focus on ensuring that young children receive the right type of praise may, in fact, help children to overcome challenging tasks and improve their self-confidence and self-belief as they mature.

Praising a child may include phrases such as ‘good boy’ or ‘you’re a clever girl’ but these types of praise, whilst they seem positive at the time, and are often well received, actually have the opposite effect to that which is intended. Personal praise such as this gives children the message that their ability is fixed and is intrinsically linked to who they are.

Praising effort, however, with phrases such as ‘You tried really hard on that’ or ‘I can see you’re really getting the hang of that’ give children more scope for future development, as they send the message to the child that their efforts are being praised, and therefore they become more likely to make an effort with things in the future. This leads them to believe that they have the ability to change and to work hard to achieve future goals.

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