THE PROBLEMS WITH PRAISE
A child comes home from school with an A on her English test.
Parent says, “Good job, you are so smart, let’s put it on the fridge!”
A few weeks later the same child comes home with a D on her science test.
How would the parent respond to this child? “We have a problem. We have to fix this. Maybe we should hire a tutor. What were you thinking? I know you can do better.”
Praise focuses on:
Perfection rather than progress and improvement.
(Praise trains children to depend on constant feedback regarding what a “great job” they are doing. This dependency shatters rather than builds a child’s self-esteem).
A right or wrong outcome rather than a meaningful experience.
(Praise trains children to inquire, “Do you like it?” “Did I do a good job?” “Are you proud of me?” “Did I do it right?” Children begin to believe that what others think is more important than what they think about their choices, actions, accomplishments and mistakes)
Good or bad decisions rather than the decision-making process.
(Praise jeopardizes the child’s ability to develop their own internal compass to guide the decision-making process.)
(Praise fractures the relationship between parent and child. Without even realizing it, parents may be using praise as a tool to direct and manipulate the child’s behavior. The message is clear — “I approve of you when you … “and “I do not approve of you when you. … “Living with this kind of constant judgment can damage not only the child’s confidence but also the relationship.)