There’s a problem with praise!

by | Mar 15, 2020 | Uncategorized

Often, as parents, we believe that praising our children is a great way to motivate them. We believe praise can ensure sustained, or even improved, performance going forward.

Unfortunately, not all praise is effective. Some praise can even reduce motivation and levels of performance.

We should not be praising the following.

  1. Talent
  2. Speed
  3. Standards that are normal for the individual.

If we praise talent, we fail to recognise the hard work someone has put into achieving something. Talent is viewed as something we simply have or don’t have and so, it feels like achieving through talent is rather out of our hands. Children praised for their talent tend to only seek out tasks that are well within their reach and confirm what they already know.

If we praise for completing something quickly, we assign success as being quick, rather than doing something well. The quality of subsequent tasks and activities can suffer in the name of ‘finishing fast’.

Praising someone for doing something that is normal for that person is confusing and ‘falls flat’. It leaves the recipient feeling patronised and can demotivate him or her going forward.

Instead, we would be well to follow the findings of researchers such as Carol Dweck and John Hattie. Their research states that, for praise to be effective, we need to be praising three, key things.

  1. Effort
  2. Strategies used
  3. Improvement made

Children who are given effort-based praise are more likely to show a willingness to work out new approaches to further challenges.

Praising the tactics and strategies a child has applied to a task encourages him or her to continue to search out different ways to tackle future challenges.

Praising improvement acknowledges the progress a child has made and encourages motivation to continue to improve.

How are you going to apply this effective praise giving to your children?

To your success
Hil