There is no doubt that children who grow up in an environment where their abilities and virtues are valued show increased self-confidence, cope more easily with the challenges of life, and set higher goals than those who do not enjoy praise.
Self-respect, created through positive reinforcement, has a significant impact on mental processes, emotional assembly, and the manifestation of feelings, desires, values, and goals.
Praise is a way that promotes the creation of a positive and realistic self-image.
Its use, however, hides some pitfalls. Sometimes, even the most well-intentioned praise has unexpected results.
In addition to the positive emotions it causes, there are also some undesirable ramifications:
· Praise sometimes raises doubts about the person who is praising.
· Praise sometimes leads to immediate denial.
· Praise sometimes poses a threat.
· Praise pushes us to focus attention on our weaknesses.
· Praise sometimes becomes a consul of anxiety, which undermines our efforts.
· Praise may also be seen as a means of manipulation.
Overall, praise with the evaluative terms “good, wonderful, exceptional” that we often use for children gives them a strong feeling of embarrassment.
Thus, beneficial praise contains two parts:
1. The adult describes in detail what he sees or feels: “I see you wore the t-shirt from the good side, with the label from the inside. You clasped the pants’ zipper, put on matching socks, and tied the laces of your shoes! How many things have you done!”
2. After hearing the description, the child is now able to praise himself.
By using the description, there is another alternative way of expressing praise. The additional element here is the addition of a word or a short phrase that sums up the commendable behavior: “You saw that the plants had no water and watered them. That’s an initiative” “You said you’d be back at 5:00, and it’s exactly 5:00. That’s consistency.”
… and some recommendations:
· Make sure the praise matches the age and potential of the child.
· Avoid praise for referring to earlier weaknesses or failures: “You are so beautiful today! How come?” There is always the possibility of alternative wording of praise to emphasize the child’s current ability: “You are so beautiful!”
· Excessive enthusiasm sometimes acts as an inhibitor to the child’s desire to achieve the goal. Sometimes the intense joy of parents for the activity of children may be perceived by them as pressure.
· Be prepared for repetitions of the same act when describing the child’s behavior with praise.
· Try to emphasize the positive aspects of the child’s behavior without commenting on the negative ones. As the child believes in his abilities, he will gradually improve his weaknesses without pointing them out.
Faber, A., Mazlish, E., (1999). How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk, Collins