Honest Praise: Children

Honest PraiseHere is some food for thought for parents. Most parents want their children to face life with high self-esteem. That said the way they go about influencing it differs greatly. Some parents give honest praise when children do things well. Others praise children for everything they do. What happens in each case? I have a theory.

Children tend to be honest. You can find out a lot about your children if you ask them some pertinent questions. Don’t just listen to their answers. Watch their faces and their body language as they answer.

Do you give honest praise?

Think about what your children do in order to receive your compliments.

  1. Nothing
  2. Anything
  3. Everything
  4. Try
  5. Succeed
  6. Improve

Now ask them how they feel when you compliment them when they do nothing, anything, everything, when they try, when they succeed and when they improve.

Here is the thing… if you are complimenting your kids when they don’t deserve to be complimented the compliments mean nothing. More importantly, inappropriate compliments can be detrimental to them because they have no significance. After all, why should a child work hard at something if parents give the same praise no matter what?

Giving children honest praise makes all of the difference. If a child tried to accomplish something and failed, how would you handle it? Would you give honest praise? How about saying, “You really tried and that makes me proud. Good job.”

Honest Praise

We don’t want children to take the easy way out because that won’t help them in life. We want them to have the courage to try even if they might fail at their endeavors. Success in life is dependent on people’s ability to deal with failure and learn from their mistakes. The foundation for success is the ability to avoid giving up when things go wrong. Giving honest praise gives children perspective.

From Dr. Seuss to Thomas Edison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Michael Jordon, there are many words of wisdom that can be shared with children. They need the adults in their lives to give hones praise and credit for trying.

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”  ~  Dr. Seuss

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”  ~  Thomas A. Edison

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”  ~  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something but I can’t accept not trying.”  ~   Michael Jordan

Photo: stevendepolo

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