At their spare time, the Little One may show you a drawing that they made. You then see it, a figure of a curly-haired man with one leg longer than the other. Apparently, they have attempted to draw their Dad. The Little One awaits your reaction. You then say, “Wow, what a nice drawing.” And the Little One appeared happy with that response.
Each parent has a different parenting style. There are some who frequently praise their children, and others who rarely do so. For some parents, praising their children is considered as motivation. However, often the problem is not related to the praise, but the word choice. Parents often tend to exaggerate when praising their children. This is subconsciously done to boost the confidence of the Little One, but in the long run, it can make them easily satisfied and not feel challenged to do better.
Professor Carole Dweck from Stanford University conducted a research that identified different results between praising children for their abilities (for instance, by saying, “You could do it because you are smart.”) and praising them for their efforts (for instance, by saying, “You have studied well to obtain a good score.”). In one experimental session, the group of children who were praised for their intelligence appeared less enthusiastic to attempt new things. They preferred to do activities that they have already done before and obtained good scores for. Children will be more focused on success and celebration, compared to the satisfaction of something that they have achieved. Conversely, if children did not receive enough praises or motivation from their parents, they may feel that they are not good enough, or feel that they are ignored.
So, when and how to correctly praise the Little One? Parents should take into consideration the quality of praises compared to the quantity. Apply the following tips and tricks:
The manner of how a praise is said can have a huge impact on the Little One. Look into their eyes when you are giving them a praise or motivation. They will feel that the praise is sincerely from your heart. If you neglect to do so, the Little One may lose their trust and may find it difficult to believe positive words that you say in the future.
Give praises on the efforts and hard work of the Little One, and do not focus on the results that they achieve. Pay attention to the words you choose when giving them a praise.
Giving specific praises will help the Little One recognize their talents or their positive side. It is better to say “You can solve difficult math problems correctly because of your persistent efforts,” compared to praising them by saying “You are really good at math.”
If the Little One is accustomed to receiving money or objects for their achievements, eventually they will be motivated by money alone and not the positive things behind their success.
Sometimes, parents can include an element of sarcasm in their praises without realizing. For example, “Wow, finally after months of learning to ride a two-wheeled bicycle, you have achieved it.” It is better to praise the Little One by motivating them, such as, “Good job, you can now ride a two-wheeled bicycle. Continue practicing every day.”
Apparently, word choice in giving praises to the Little One can have long-term impacts on their mental development. One of the solutions is for parents to make notes containing positive words of encouragement that can be said to the Little One when they have successfully accomplished something.
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