3 Surefire Ways to Praise Your Child: A Parent’s Guide to Encouragement

Praise, when used judiciously, helps children understand that effort and perseverance lead to greater opportunities for success.

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In life, we often come across situations where parents praise their children with phrases like “You’re so smart!” or “You’re the best, my child.” Encouragement and praise are effective educational tools, and when used correctly, they can yield very positive results.

Children need recognition and praise from their parents to boost their confidence, overcome challenges, and spark enthusiasm and initiative. Moreover, using praise to encourage children can also strengthen the bond between parents and their children.

However, phrases like “You’re amazing” or “You’re so smart” may not feel genuine to children. From a psychological perspective, here are some suggestions on how to praise your children more effectively:

Children need recognition and praise from their parents to boost their confidence and overcome challenges.

The Art of Genuine Praise

Some parents may not be adept at praising their children and may not know how to use the right words to describe their strengths. According to experts, parents should offer sincere praise, avoiding exaggeration or perfunctory compliments. From a psychological standpoint, children crave genuine acknowledgment from their parents.

For instance, if your child’s achievements are only average or they have completed basic tasks, refrain from overpraising them with phrases like “You’re amazing.”

Imagine a 7 or 8-year-old child pouring themselves a glass of water. While this may be a mundane task, a parent might say, “You’re amazing, dear.” This could confuse the child, leading them to wonder if their parent couldn’t find anything genuinely praiseworthy about them. As a result, they may not develop an accurate sense of their self-worth.

On the other hand, some children may develop a psychological dependence on excessive praise from their parents. When they don’t receive praise from others, they might feel worthless, leading to discouragement and a desire to give up.

To praise your child effectively, you could say, “I noticed you poured yourself a drink. I’m so glad to see you becoming more independent in taking care of yourself!”

Some children may develop a psychological dependence on excessive praise from their parents.

The Kuwa Description Method

Common phrases used to praise children include “You’re amazing” or “You did a great job.” However, these phrases may not actually motivate children effectively.

From a psychological perspective, many children may not grasp the deeper meanings behind a compliment.

Therefore, parents should explain specifically why they are praising their child so that they understand what was so “amazing” about their accomplishment. This will help reinforce positive behavior in the future.

An effective way to praise your child is to describe precisely what they did, usually following this formula: some of the child’s achievements + peer comparison + what the child did well + parent’s positive emotions or feedback.

For example, after your child finishes their chores, you could say, “You’re only five years old, and you’ve already finished your chores, washed the dishes, and cleaned the stove carefully. You’ve done a better job than even I could! Well done, I’m so proud of you!”

This style of praise helps children recognize their strengths, making it easier to encourage them to continue improving.

This style of praise helps children recognize their strengths and encourages them to improve.

Emphasizing Effort and Perseverance

When praising your child, focus on their effort and perseverance rather than solely on the outcome. From a psychological perspective, children can easily become discouraged when they don’t achieve their desired results. Emphasizing only the outcome, whether positive or negative, can add pressure to your child.

Instead, value their hard work and tenacity throughout the process. For example, you could say to your child, “Even though you didn’t excel at this task this time, I can see how hard you worked at it. Not everyone can do that. I believe you are getting closer to success with each step you take.”

Such praise helps children understand that diligence and perseverance create more opportunities for success.

In addition to these three techniques, parents can also focus on praising their children’s positive behaviors and qualities to reinforce good habits and develop a strong character.

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