A Counselor’s View On Parenting And Praise


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Raising your kids may seem like an easy and evident part of parenting. They love it when you tell them how great they are and how happy we are of their talents and abilities. However, when we talk about praise, it’s actually more than just boosting self-confidence. Child counselors agree that parents’ most critical responsibilities are to hone their children’s personalities and behavior. Children take praise as a prize in itself, and it is a means to enable them to learn which types of behaviors are appropriate. As a matter of fact, counselors have a common parenting instruction about praise – catch them being good!

Another suggestion is for parents to say at least ten positive statements to their kids for each negative response. It’s not that difficult, and it does not need to be complicated. Simply comment on an attitude that you like when you notice your child showing it. For instance, when you observe your two-year-old enjoying himself with his puzzles, you can say, “You’re doing so well, baby.”

Below are some effective ways of praising that will significantly help children become assertive, dependable, and confident.

How To Praise

  • Praise Each Child’s Specific Strengths. Your child would sometimes compare himself to other kids – to his siblings, friends, and schoolmates. He would think he fall short in, say, creating beautiful drawings or shooting a basketball. Try to make a little more effort in encouraging him. Tell him that the other kids just learned earlier and then shift the focus. “Jake is a good shooter, but I’ve noticed that you run and carry the ball really well.” This method enables kids to realize that they have strengths and that each of them is unique.
  • Look Them Straight In The Eyes. How you praise, your child is as crucial or even more crucial than the words you speak. Use a kind and sincere tone and always look at them when you’re talking to them. Whenever possible, level with them. Communicating this way boosts your child’s self-esteem.

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  • Be Careful With Your Words. In complimenting, it is vital to utilize words that are suitable for your child’s developmental phase. In praising a baby, you can call her name softly, and she would smile at you. As she grows up, use words that replicate their experiences and evoke compassion and understanding. For instance, if your 2-year-old is motivated to dress up by herself but has trouble doing it, you could say, “I know you want so much to be a big girl and get in that pretty dress. Can I help you with that? You can wear your shoes by yourself instead.”

Praise And Determination

  • Don’t Exaggerate. If you overexert your compliments, you might lose your accountability. You can only say ‘great job’ or ‘I love this drawing’ too much before these words have so little purpose and meaning. If possible, be concise. Be more expressive. Say, “I love how you designed your flower pot, baby,” or, “You chose beautiful colors for your drawing, my love!”

Descriptive praises like the statements above will enable your child to know why he was complimented. And be sure that the behavior deserves a compliment. Kids can essentially distinguish hollow compliments from fake ones. More importantly, you do not necessarily have to praise them for every positive thing.

  • Focus On the Little Things. Kids are nurtured by attention. It makes them feel taken care of. When Kathy, mom of three from California, observes that her daughter, Callie, has gotten herself prepared for bed without being told to, she compliments her by buying her the books she always wanted. “But then I also realized that the task is something that she also needs to learn on her own,” says Kathy. “It gives me happiness and less stress, though, when I don’t have to force her to brush her teeth and change her clothes, so I felt that I should reward her with some of her favorites.”

You can also increase your child’s self-confidence by merely making a positive comment on what she’s doing, and she will still view this as a form of compliment. For example, “Thanks so much, Callie, for changing your clothes without waiting for me to tell you.”

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  • Keep Your Child’s Head Held High. Determination is key, according to most child counselors. When your child tries something new, reassurance from you is tremendously important and wonderful.

For example, when your 5-year-old gets disappointed and discouraged while learning to tie her own hair, you can watch in the corner and compliment her for what she’s doing. You can say, “Great, that’s how you fix your hair with ribbons. I like it when I see you trying; even you seem to have trouble tightening them. But don’t worry. You’ll master that in time and soon you can do other complicated styles.” This sort of reassurance cultivates optimism. And we know very well that optimism, along with self-confidence, always go together.



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