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

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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? 

Š Kohlerphoto 

by on Dec. 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (41-41):
by Member on Jan. 27, 2013 at 10:12 PM

I try to praise my daughter as much as possible because she thrives on that. 

Also, i love those quotes on pinterest. :]

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