When should you praise your child? Let’s face us, as adults we like to be praised when we do things. It encourages us to do better next time. However, is that the case with a young child? If we praise them will it mean they will try harder? Or perhaps not try as hard since they feel they have done their best and don’t need to try any more?
How Much Praise Do You Give?
As a parent it can be difficult to know when should you praise your child. If we don’t give any praise then it might just as easily have a negative effect as your child will give up before they even try. Furthermore they might think they are no good. It won’t help their self esteem either. However, what sort of effect does it have if you praise them constantly?
Recently I was doing a music session with a group of parents and their children. One parent in particular I noticed would repeatedly say to their child “good girl” and “well done” throughout most of the session. Is that the right thing to do?
I remind parents to praise their child when we are trying to teach them to listen. This is such an important activity. I also remind parents to praise their child when they are sitting nicely, sharing etc., The 101 activities that are introduced in all my group sessions I request parents to praise their child.
We All Like Praise
I for one like a bit of praise, so why wouldn’t a child? We all like to feel encouraged when we try to do something right, and how many of us put something on Facebook and feel good when someone “likes” it. We see it as praise, so that must be a good thing right?
But we all recognise “insincere” praise, the sort which I am sure we all have come across. Children are quick to also pick up on this and will soon know if you are paying attention to what they are doing.
Should You Praise Your Child?
But back to my original question of should you praise your child? Research shows us that when you praise your child, that it builds self esteem, which is what parents have been guided towards. However, if we just say “good girl” or “good boy” but not highlight what they did, then how are they to know for next time so they can repeat the process and the action? Well in my own humble opinion isn’t it better to say “well done on tidying the instruments away” or “well done on playing that drum really softly” as this describes the action, and becomes more sincere.
Children understand a lot more than we realise and can quickly know when you are being sincere or not. We try to help them with their listening skills, but maybe next time we need to also think of our own listening skills. Maybe next time we need to listen to what we are saying to our child when it comes to praise or indeed criticism although that’s for another discussion. Hopefully though through sincere praise we will help build their self esteem, and we can then smile to ourselves and say “well done” and give ourselves sincere praise in raising our kids to be the best they can be.