how to :
use praise to help your child develop their
resilience, confidence and self-belief
what we praise our kids for
what are character strengths?
why we use them to praise
It's precisely because they reflect our personal identity that we use them as the framework to praise our kids.
What you believe about yourself and what you are capable of is what ultimately drives your behaviour.
Praise your child using their strengths, and you help them to collect the evidence that shapes their identity.
how to praise*
A 3-step process.
- 1Praise enthusiastically- naming the specific CHARACTER STRENGTH .
- 2SPECIFICALLY tell them what the praise is for.
- 3Enhance the message with ENTHUSIASTIC sign-off and a nonverbal flourish.
- 1"WELL DONE! You really showed your strength of PERSEVERANCE there."
- 2"I'm impressed, you really stuck with it until you finished even though it was a really tricky problem to solve."
- 3"Great work... HIGH FIVE!"
how to praise: some do's
Dr. Kazdin offers some advice on praising more effectively:
- 1Praise as close to the event happening as possible, the uplifting effects of praise have a short half-life.
- 2Be enthusiastic, smile, use your voice tone and gestures to indicate they've done a great job, this tells your child you mean what you say.
- 3The nonverbal ending helps to emphasise the message: high five, pat/ kiss on the head, kiss, hug, whatever is comfortable and appropriate.
how to praise: some don'ts
Dr. Kazdin also offers some advice on what not to do:
- 1Don't praise the person: "You are such a GOOD BOY/ GIRL." - this can make your child feel that they are only "good", when they do something you praise them for.
- 2Don't link your LOVE or HAPPINESS to the praise: "Well done, Daddy loves you so much for doing this and it makes me very HAPPY ." - you love your child because they are your child not because of the things they do, praising in this way, you risk training your child to do things to please you.
- 3No caveats at the end: "Well done, for doing X... why can't you always be like that?" This is a no-no, it completely negates the praise you've just given.
We would add:
- 1Never say that your child is"amazing", "beautiful", "clever", or"talented", when you praise. You're their parent and of course you think this, however these traits are highly subjective and can build false self-esteem.
- 2Never praise the outcome, results are not controllable, effort and process are. Praise contingent upon a successful outcome is a surefire way to raise a lifelong people-pleaser.
the benefits of praising this way
7 day challenge
This way of parenting takes a little bit of getting used to, so here is a 7 day challenge that will help you to focus your praise on the key strengths of RESILIENCE.
want to help your kid(s) develop their character strengths?
Why not try the first 3 modules of our BEST ME program for FREE?
Designed specifically to help kids to develop the qualities needed to be successful: confidence, resilience and self-belief, using their character strengths.