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To praise or not to praise...that is the question

Posted by on Dec. 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM
  • 41 Replies

We've all seen those quote pins on Pinterest. The ones that have the uber-cool fonts, very hip, very happening, oh-so-wise reminders of what is important in life. I re-pin a few...okay, a lot (hey, follow me and I'll follow you - and follow CafeMom too)...and usually, more often than not, the ones I dig are about how struggles and the tough times impact who we become. How those falters, flubs, and trip-ups of Life are when we realize who we are, what shapes us. 

Like this one of the Japanese proverb:


Or this one:


Or this pin of cool quote artwork:


Notice not one says, "Hey, good job, you, for using soap in the shower!" because, well, that isn't what it is all about, is it? I try to impart this onto the kiddo, that Life may not go her way, tha she may lose, may struggle and that is not just okay, but a good thing, yet it is hard to do that...though, really, it isn't as hard as I make it, which is why I love the video yesterday. It's a huge reminder for me. How many times have you heard, "You're great!" from some mom to some kiddo just having a regular day at school...or said those same words to your six-year-old kid after she ties her shoes, something she just should do and not need a gold star after she does it?

To praise or not to praise (and what to say instead): it's Shakepeare dilemma of parenting. I'm with Andrew and Chuck. We prasie too much. I do it. I hear it all of the time from mommy friends. I'm really trying not tell her "Good job!" for just getting up in the morning. Okay, that is an exaggeration, but you get what I'm saying. I'm no pro at dealing with this subject. Sometimes I have found myself totally going "Tiger Mom" during homework, pushing her too hard...while other times, I've given her high fives for wiping her tush the right way. Yup, wiping her tush. I know, I know. During my out-of-body experience at the time, even I looked at myself cross-eyed.

They are works-in-progress, our kids ...and, to that end, so are we as parents. I'm forming a habit (a good one, I hope) of praising her for her actions, when she tries her best. I praise her for going on the journey to the end result and not just the end result. I tell her she's awesome when she has confidence in being the best she can be and trying to excel...regardless of the outcome. And when I push her to take more responsibility for her own world and actions because that is just what you do in life rather than for a short three-word phrase from me, that is when she shines. I can almost see a literal shiny difference about her (though it could just be the fact she needs to take a shower). 

Study after study, book after book say the most successful adults and the happiest adults are those that have resilience and grit (I cannot recommend more highly Paul Tough's How Children Succeed -- ask Santa for it!). Resilience doesn't come from always winning. It comes from the confidence you learn from overcoming harder times and learning how to deal with situations that don't go your way. Like Joanie's remark on the video: "failure turns to experience, experience turns to wisdom." But, alas, seeing our kids fail isn't easy...yet it may be the best way we can help them achieive, but dang, it's tough.

(By the way, who else loves Joanie? Who wants to have lunch with her? I'm raising my hand and waving it in the air!)

How do you balance praising your kids? Do you teach your kids that they will, sometimes, not be the best at something? 

©iStockphoto.com/ Kohlerphoto 

by on Dec. 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
LOswald0314
by Bronze Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:00 AM

 Good question.  My kids are so young I hadn't really thought about it yet.

momofsixangels
by Gold Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 7:28 AM

I praise my kids but not about everything

bwsmommy
by Bronze Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 8:01 AM

 With my oldest and him having the problems he has .. we praise him for almost everything he does .. if not we find he gets depressed and sad for not knowing .. my other 2 boys get praised as well but its normally for things that typical children get praised for .

louannwilkins
by Silver Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 8:51 AM
1 mom liked this

 Kids need praise like everyone, even adults but at the same time they need to know failure and disappointments and how to deal with them.  You tell them that it's everyday life and that things won't always go "their" way.  I think if you tell them this from the beginning you don't have a lot of problems with them accepting it.

Bmat
by Bronze Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Yes. I praise for personal growth.

MamaBear2cubs
by Bronze Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Love these

Madelaine
by Bronze Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM

I will have to think about that...

cemcnair
by Silver Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM
I do praise. Ds is only 2 and potty learning. We make sure to explain that accidents happen and it's ok when they do, but we praise when he does make it!
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arpazia
by Silver Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 9:41 AM
We praise ds when he accomplishes something:)
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sandbuster
by Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 9:51 AM


Quoting bwsmommy:

 With my oldest and him having the problems he has .. we praise him for almost everything he does .. if not we find he gets depressed and sad for not knowing .. my other 2 boys get praised as well but its normally for things that typical children get praised for .

Same here

I tend to notice that if we don't find something to praise he gets a whole lot of negative. BTW, not every six year old can tie their shoes, I am happy if they are on his feet without a meltdown. I praised him yesterday for the effort that he made, he did not meet his behavior goal but he came very close and I reminded him that today is another day to make that goal.

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