5 Ways To Effectively Praise Your Child

Good job!
Excellent swinging!
What a nice boy you are!
You're such a good girl!

What's that old adage? "Flattery will get you everywhere." Or is it anywhere...or nowhere?

 http://ctt.ec/3yptk"Flattery is like friendship in show, but not in fruit." - Socrates (TWEET IT!)

That metaphor resonates with me. 

Praise is like any reward - a fleeting burst of "feel-good" to the neural circuitry in the brain. It might give us a rush of importance or acknowledgement when we give it - or get it. But what does it do for us in the long-run? 
I have to wonder what praise feels like for our kids.

I imagine it's something like the flavor of that old-school classic - Fruit Stripe Gum - notoriously strong and intense - but short-lived.

 Praise and I have a complicated and conflicted relationship. 

I don't know if it's an Aspie thing, an introvert thing, or just a ME thing, but while I enjoy thinking of myself as held in high regard by another, it also makes me feel uneasy to actually hear it. 

Compliments tend to make me feel like someone is boring a hole in my head with their eyeballs. 

Or like I have to perform, from here on out, at least as well, but preferably better than I just did.

Or like I have to return the praise and share something when it doesn't feel authentic to do so.

Yes, I tend to over-analyze anything that sets-my-nervous-system-a-flutter but for good reason. Kids depend greatly on our approval, and they come to see themselves in the ways in which we speak about them.  

What happens when the praise they come to depend on for motivation stops coming?

On one hand, we want to avoid empty over-praising, and on the other hand, we don't want to withhold from our children our genuine love and happiness. 

So how do we know the difference?

It's a fine line - and in today's TEACHable Moment, I'm going to give you 5 Ways To Effectively Praise Your Child - so you can be sure you're offering quality feedback about what kids do - instead of WHO THEY ARE!

Many parents walk away after reading Alfie Kohn's book, Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason, wondering what they are supposed do without  -

  • praise
  • rewards
  • consequences

You may be wondering right now - what kind of parent would I be if I never praised my child or gave a logical consequence? 


"What the hell kind of happy horse-shit is that?" was my dad's reaction to my idea of parenting.

Thankfully, you don't have to punish to teach, rewards can be self-directed motivators, and there is a way to effectively praise your child without creating a praise-junkie.

What about you - have you ever looked deeply at why and how you praise your kids?

Is it -

for show or to impress others?
to share for your own benefit?
to coerce behavior by dangling the praise - "Now, be a good boy for me?"

Or have you found ways to effectively praise your child?

Share your ideas in the comments below - your story might just be the light-bulb moment someone needs to see it in a new way!
Thank you for watching and sharing.
Talk soon,

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About Lori

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