Thursday, March 01, 2012

How do you praise your kids?

A friend forwarded this to me: How not to talk to your kids. Both Hubby and I thought it was fascinating, and talked about our own childhoods and how the types of praise we usually got influenced us.

Then, tonight, I realize that Peanut is understanding quite a bit of language, demonstrated in this video --

No less than 3 times does Peanut demonstrate that he knows what "drink from the cup" means. I found myself wanting to say "You are so smart!", but remembering the article about praising your child's effort, not intelligence, I worked to change my praise. I said, "I can tell you are working hard to understand all the words I use" and similar worded praise.

How about you? How do you offer praise?


  1. I praise our boy for being smart, but I also praise him for trying hard. I don't think that one type is better than the other. If we are blessed with any girls, I'll tell them that they are pretty, the same that I tell our boy that he's handsome, cute, etc.

    I think there's more to it that just how a child was praised - I remember being told that I was smart while growing up, and I don't think it discouraged me from trying hard. In fact, I very clearly recall being scolded when I didn't try - that did more to encourage me to try harder than simply being told "You're so smart!".

    That's just my two cents. :)

  2. I think it depends on what you are telling the child he is smart about... Having been told repeatedly (not really by my parents) "you are so smart" when doing well at school always left a bad aftertaste in my mouth, so to say (a bad aftersound in my ears?), because I knew it was not a result of effort, and I knew that was nothing to be praised about, it was just my gift to remember things. But I think if a child makes an effort of intellectual kind and you tell them they're smart, they'll understand what you mean. Generally, I think it's not all that much the wording (although that surely plays a role, too), but rather the intent behind the wording. I'd be afraid that if the intent was "praising my child the right way" rather than just "praising my child for doing well", it might leave a bad aftertaste as well. That's my two cents.


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