Praising Your Child
Tell them when they are doing a good job. Be there to see them when they shine.
All young people want their parents' approval. This gives teens confidence to face the world. It helps build a strong identity. It gives them courage to challenge themselves.
Giving praise also helps build your relationship with your teens. Study after study shows that teens who have close, supportive relationships with their parents are better off. They are healthier and are less likely to be involved in risky behaviors. They have higher self-esteem and are more successful in school and beyond.
- Be excited about their successes - even the little ones. Offer praise for a job done well. Focus on the things your teens do right.
- Be specific about what you are praising them for. It shows you were paying attention and that you really mean it.
- Pay attention to what is important to them. Show an interest and praise them about the things they care about - even if they aren't as meaningful to you.
- Give your praise as soon as they earn it. Don't wait until later, when it won't mean as much.
- Praise the effort. If you praise them for a personal trait (like being smart or talented), they won't learn to try things they're not good at. If you only praise the product (like good grades), it takes the focus off of them. But if you praise the effort, it teaches them to keep learning and keep trying.
- Give them plenty of opportunities to earn your praise. Like everyone else, teens need to feel they are worthy of love and praise. They gain self-respect from learning new skills, helping others, and showing they can be responsible.
- Do not praise them when they have not earned it. Kids know phony praise when they hear it. They may be insulted by it. It may also make real praise feel less meaningful.
- Criticize them less. Fear and shame will make them insecure and angry. Positive reinforcement is more effective, because it encourages them. Talk to them about their mistakes. Help them figure out what other choices they could have made.
- If they fail, encourage them. If they tried hard, praise the effort. Praise will give them the confidence to keep trying.
- Then, help them to improve. Praise small progress, along the way.
"You're a good kid."
|"I am proud of the way you handled that situation."|
"Congratulations. You won."
|"Congratulations. I'm not surprised you won the election. You came up with a good plan and communicated your ideas well."|
"You have good friends."
|"I really like your friends. You have good friends because you know how to be a good friend to them."|
"I'm proud of you."
|"I'm proud of you. You put a lot of thought into that and it showed."|
"I love your painting. You're so talented!"
|"I love the way you paint. I really like the way you use colors and try new styles"|
"What a goal!"
|"What a goal! You've been practicing hard lately and it paid off."|
|"Good job. I really like the way you did…"|
"You're so smart!"
|"Now that's using your brains! How did you figure that out?"|
"You got an A!"
|"You got an A! I know how hard you worked in that class."|
|"You really tried hard. I'm sorry it didn't work out the way you wanted. I bet you can figure out how to make it work, next time."|
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