Thursday, August 11, 2011

Praise: It's Complicated

Sneak Peek Friday

I am honored to have worked on the Academy of Coaching Parents International's HeartWise book called Parenting Responsively for Connection.  Along with 10 other ACPI Certified Parent and Family Coaches; I wrote the book to help parents answer some difficult parenting issues.  Every Friday this summer YOUR Parenting Question Blog will share a short excerpt from this book.  We hope that you find them information and helpful.  If you like what you read and you would like to order the E-book you may do so here at Strong Roots Family Coaching

Praise: It's Complicated
            "Great game, Jimmy. 24 points— awesome! I am so proud of you!"

            We all know the importance of praising our children, and many of us probably feel that we fail to praise them as much as we should. But even if we offered our children 100 words of praise each day, is all praise effective praise?

            Too often, like this mom above, we offer some type of blanket "praise phrase" like "Good job!" "Great work!" or "Well done!" But for our praise to be effective, is that enough? Truly it's not.

            As parents, we strive to make sure the praise we offer our children is meaningful and influential. For this to happen, we must continually find reasons to notice the behaviors in our children that we value and specifically point them out. When we do, we are able to meet three of our child's basic social-emotional needs.

            The need for love and affection
            The need to feel competent
            The sense of belonging and being connected.

            We all know that it's easy to take our kids' behavior for granted, especially after a behavior is repeated enough that it has become a habit. A simple example for young children would be brushing their teeth, hanging up wet towels or putting dirty clothes in a hamper. While our children are in the early stages of learning a new responsibility, it is important to recognize this behavior by offering meaningful and influential praise. "Thanks for brushing your teeth without me having to tell you. It shows you care about keeping your teeth healthy. Thank you!" or "Way to go picking up those dirty clothes. It's so great you're learning to care for your own belongings. I and your hamper thank you!" are examples of meaningful and influential praise.

Parent Educator & ACPI Trainer
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