As a mom who wants nothing but the best for my children, I often find myself using phrases like “Wow! That’s awesome!” to encourage and uplift them.
Celebrating their achievements and efforts has become second nature to me.
However, lately, I’ve started to wonder if I might be overpraising my child.
Is it possible that my constant stream of enthusiastic praise might not be as beneficial as I once thought?
Why don’t we dive into the concept of overpraising and its potential impact on my child’s development.
And really get into the research and gain a deeper understanding of how to strike the right balance between encouragement and excessive praise.
Importance Of Praising the Journey
As a mom of three, I’ve come to realize the immense importance of praising the journey rather than just the outcome.
While celebrating their achievements is wonderful, acknowledging the effort, determination, and progress they make along the way is equally crucial.
By praising the journey, I’m instilling in my children a sense of resilience, growth mindset, and the courage to face challenges head-on.
It helps them understand that learning and improvement are valuable, regardless of the end result.
Focusing on the journey also strengthens our parent-child bond, as I get to be a constant source of support and encouragement throughout their various endeavors.
Research has shown the powerful impact of praising the process rather than the person. When children receive praise for their efforts, strategies, and perseverance, they develop a growth mindset and become more willing to embrace challenges.
Studies indicate that process praise encourages intrinsic motivation, fostering a love for learning and self-improvement. In contrast, praising innate traits or intelligence may lead to a fixed mindset, where children fear failure and avoid challenges to maintain the appearance of being “smart.”
By focusing on the process, parents and educators can cultivate a resilient and enthusiastic attitude toward learning, empowering children to take on new tasks with confidence and grit.
What It Looks Like To Praise the Process
Pay attention to the intricate process of your child’s endeavors. Rather than using repetitive phrases like, “You must have worked hard on that,” meaningful process praise requires observing and understanding the journey itself.
Kyla Haimovitz, Ph.D., a learning engineer at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, co-authored a 2017 paper on this subject with Dr. Dweck. She suggests that praise doesn’t have to be immediate. If your child is engaged in a drawing, for instance, hold off on constant comments about each color choice. Instead, wait until they reveal the finished drawing, and then remark, “Ooh, I see you placed the yellow next to the Green – that’s so interesting!”
You can also use it in other situations such as if your child is building a fort, you can say oh you chose to put the kitchen next to the living room, that is pretty cool!
By asking your child about their process, you open the door to praising their learning journey. This approach empowers them to evaluate themselves internally, fostering curiosity and a desire for exploration.
As a result, your child will learn to ask themselves these critical questions, cultivating a deeper understanding and appreciation for their own growth and development.
Biggest Tip Of All – Praise What Your Child Can Control (Actions vs. Looks)
The biggest tip of all when it comes to praising children is to focus on what they can control – their actions rather than their looks. Instead of complimenting their appearance, like saying, “You look so pretty,” or “You’re so handsome,” shift the praise towards their efforts and behaviors.
Acknowledge their hard work, problem-solving skills, kindness, or perseverance.
This type of praise nurtures a growth mindset, where children understand that their abilities can improve through effort and dedication. It builds their self-esteem based on their actions and accomplishments, promoting a healthy sense of self-worth and encouraging them to take on challenges fearlessly.
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