Is praising your child hurting your child?

There is no such thing as a perfect parent. There is no such thing as a perfect kid. I know that parents want to do everything in their power to help their children be successful and happy.  As a parent, you want to encourage your child to either keep going on with something he/she is doing or you may want to genuinely praise your child for doing a good job. There is nothing wrong with this. It is natural as a parent.

However, praise can also be used to manipulate a child as well. How? If you praise your child too much your child’s behavior will be seen more often. What’s wrong with that? Your child may end up only doing what is necessary to get your praise and your child’s own inner self, the drive to explore and to learn may not expand due to the reinforcement the child wants from you, the parent.

A child who has become accustomed to look to the parents and teachers for reinforcement can be distracted from finding his or her own sense of accomplishment. Also a child who is frequently judged, even if that judgment is positive, develops the habit of frequent self-evaluation and may become anxious about keeping up a high level of achievement. Living with the constant need for approval, the child may end up resenting the parent in the future.

Use Praise with Purpose

I am not saying don’t to praise your child, I just invite you to use it with purpose.

I invite you think twice before praising your child, you will begin to notice more.  When praising be specific with what was done, not just arbitrarily saying, “Great job” for everything that the child does.

It’s not whether the job is bad or good, but what exactly is the job being done or the task being accomplished?

  • What does this activity mean to your child?
  • What is interesting about the activity?
  • What are you curious about?
  • What does your child want to tell you?

Praise has a way of ending a conversation. So think twice and join your child in the joy of exploration.

For example, help your child find activities that engage him/her. Help your child freely discover and devote himself/herself to various interests and activities. All children are different and master their skills at different stages. Let them make mistakes, learn from them and move on. Let them also find the joy of accomplishment and knowing that they did it. Your child’s sense of empowerment in one or two areas will add to self-confidence and a sense of joy in life.

The Path of Childhood

Childhood is a path of discovery and engagement. Praise can interrupt a child’s activity by switching the focus to self-judgment. When this happens, self-confidence can be compromised.

Studies of motivation in adults show us that success is more likely if a person is dedicated to their work than if they pursue their job for rewards such as increased pay or status. It makes sense then to help your child discover learning and working for the pure joy of discovery and accomplishment rather than for praise, grades, or other rewards.

We all hope our child will be successful in his or her chosen life path.

Meanwhile, share your own enjoyment in discovery, creation, problem solving and adventure. Sharing your own pursuits and interests with your child is one of the most rewarding parts of parenting and your child will feel a sense of connection to you.

Visit and pick up your complimentary Guide 7 Steps to a Thriving Family without Yelling. You can also book a Love More Yell Less 45 minute call to help you get clear on a child behavioral concern with Cindy the Founder of The Repairenting Connection.

Written by Cindy Marvin

Cindy Marvin

Cindy Marvin is a parenting coach, educator, speaker and founder of Repairenting, LLC. Her mission is to help families reconnect and begin to enjoy their time with one another and Bring Harmony Home. Through her ability to deeply listen without judgment and create a safe environment, Cindy helps families create positive changes in their lives that have dramatic lasting effects for years to come.