Effective Praise and why it works
Good morning friends!
Can we just say that you’re pretty awesome?! You’ve gotten your kid/s up, fed (mostly), dressed (mostly), lunches made (mostly), and out the door before you’ve even had time to feel like a human. Granted, you may still be in your PJ’s, but that’s not something to be ashamed of. Give yourself a pat on the back for all that you do!
Now most of you have a smile on your face, even if you didn’t just a few minutes ago. Am I right? We all love hearing good things about ourselves. Your children are not different. It’s important for them to hear praise. It’s vital for them to hear Effective Praise. And yes, there is a difference. Most praise we give our children is what we called general praise. “You’re awesome” fits into this category. While it may make us feel warm and fuzzy for a few minutes, it doesn’t tell us why we’re awesome. But, adding “You’re awesome because you’ve gotten your kids up and dressed before you feel like a functioning adult” gives you a better picture of the reasons why.
Just by changing how you praise you’ll notice some pretty major benefits in your family because Effective Praise is powerful. No, really it is! What are these magical benefits?
Effective Praise teaches your children what positive behavior is acceptable
Which is key. When your child knows what behavior brings praise from you they are more likely to repeat the behavior to hear the praise. Who knew how you praised your kids could change their behavior?
Effective Praise gives your children specifics
Children like specifics. They are still trying to figure out the world around them and sometimes that world is confusing. Your child may wonder why they are praised at one time then criticized at another for what they see as the same behavior. Specifics help remove that confusion and allows your children to make parallels and gives order to their world.
Effective Praise helps you to find the reasons to implement a specific behavior that are motivating to your kid and not just you
Wait, there’s a difference? Yes. A big one. We are all motivated by different things and many parents use their motivation to try to get their kids to do something. Which is not helpful at all! Want to know what’s motivating to your kid? Watch what they do in their spare time. Finding the right motivation one can be a bit of an abstract concept so here’s what we mean. Your kid doesn’t like to help you set the table before dinner. You may praise him when he finally helps out by saying, “Thank you for setting the table, now we can eat sooner.” Getting dinner on the table sooner is your motivation, not his because eating dinner means that he’ll miss his favorite TV show. So if you want to praise him for his effort, it’d be like a 100 times more effective if you said something like. “Thanks for helping me set the table. I know this is your favorite show and because you helped me when I first asked, we won’t eat dinner until the show is over.”
P.S. We really do think you’re awesome for all those specific reasons you think you’re awesome!