It’s a fact that the majority of parents praise kids when they accomplish a feat. But is it really the correct thing to do? According to studies done by early childhood education experts, it is indeed a recommendable thing to do as it acts as a positive reinforcement. However, it is not all rosy as we all would like to think.
The flipside of praise
Many adolescent development experts also argue that praises can undermine the child’s motivation creating pressure to continue performing well, reduce independence, discourage risk taking, and much more. Here are some of the disadvantages of praising young children:
Kids that are praised for their creativity tend to stumble at the next new task. This is normally due to pressure that is normally exerted on them to perform better or which is created on them to continue doing a good work. If they do poorly on a given task, and hence are not praised, they end up losing interest on whatever it is they are tackling.
Apart from this, kids that are regularly praised are less likely to take risks since they constantly worry that they might not receive a positive feedback if they do something differently. Moreover, studies have shown that students that regularly receive praise don’t persist in the face of difficulties.
It is also observed that kids tend to lose interest in the activities for which they have been praised. So instead of motivating a kid so as to engage in an activity, praise motivates the kid to get more praise, something that is quite counterproductive in the long run.
Manipulates kids by creating praise junkies out of them
As much as you love praising your kids for a good job done, the more praise they receive, the more they rely on adult evaluations rather than forming their own judgments. In most cases, praise is something that a lot of adults use to get kids to comply to their wishes. This is akin to taking advantage of the kid’s dependence.
Not all praise is created equal!
It should be noted that not all forms of praise are harmful, just like not all praises are good. Early childhood specialists point out that different kinds of praise have varied effects on young kids. This being the case, there should be a clear distinction between process praise and person praise. Here’s what you need to learn about these two types of praises:
• Process praise
This is the kind of praise that relates to the kid’s effort, and mainly focus on the actual output or behavior. For instance, a statement such as “you tried really hard” is a kind of process praise. This kind of praise has been proved good as it encourages the kid to develop a flexible mindset, take on harder challenges, and confront their weaknesses.
• Person praise
This is a kind of praise that evaluates a kid’s traits such as his or her intelligence. This kind of praise evaluates a kid universally, telling him or her she is outstanding, smart or good. Good examples of this kind of praise are such as “you are a good boy or girl”, “you are so good at what you are doing”, and the likes. Studies have shown that this kind of praise reduces motivation and focus the kids on their performances, encouraging them to compare their performance with that of others.
All in all, while we like to think that all praises are good for our children, studies have shown that we have to re-evaluate our thinking. Parents are encouraged to be careful on the kinds of praises they shower on their young kids. It’s always good to praise if the child deserves it but this should be done in a sincere way that conveys realistic expectations to promote a kid’s self-motivation.