Praise is a powerful tool in parenting. It’s important to know how to use praise effectively as a parent. Here are five ways you can use positive praise:
Give specific praise
It’s important to praise your child in a way that encourages them. Avoid using words like “good job,” or “excellent” because these terms don’t tell the child what they did right. Instead, be specific about what your child did well and why it was so impressive. You might say something like:
- I noticed how hard you worked on this project for class today-I know it must have taken a lot of effort.
- Thank you for listening to me the first time that I asked, I appreciate it when you follow directions.
Praise effort, not just outcome.
One of the best ways to use positive praise is to praise effort, not just outcome. For example, if your child is trying hard at something and isn’t quite getting the results they want yet, it can be easy for you as a parent to focus on what they haven’t done well yet instead of praising their effort and dedication. This can discourage them from continuing with something because they feel like they’re not being rewarded for their efforts.
Instead, try focusing on what you do see them doing right–their determination and persistence are important qualities! You could say something like: “I’m so proud that even though this task has been difficult for you, you have kept at it and are working really hard.” This way there will still be an emphasis on improvement but also encouragement for future attempts at the same task
Praise out loud.
There’s something about hearing a compliment that makes it feel more real, more genuine. This can be especially helpful when you’re trying to encourage or motivate your child–if they know you’re paying attention, then they’ll be more likely to keep doing it!
For example: “I saw how hard you worked on this project with your today!” or “You did such a great job cleaning up after dinner!”
Here is a worksheet to help you think of some ideas to start using positive praise.
Never praise in public only to criticize in private.
As a parent, you should never praise in public only to criticize in private. This can lead to the development of low self-esteem and an overall poor sense of self. As children grow older and begin to see themselves as adults with their own ideas, thoughts and feelings, it’s important for parents to remember that no one wants to be told what they are doing wrong when they feel like they’re doing something right.
Mindhues is here to support your child.
At Mindhues we offer individual therapy to youth ages 5 through 24. A Mindhues therapist can also provide support to parents in how to utilize positive praise with their children. Contact us today to get started.