As parents, we've become addicted to praising our kids. But as we try to make them feel good about themselves 24-7, we actually may be harming them. Even if your praise is sincere, you may not be using it the right way. If you use it the right way, it's a valuable tool for reinforcing good behavior, boosting your child's self-esteem, and making him or her feel loved, appreciated, and inspired.
Stress purpose, not performance. Teach your child the importance of things like discipline, teamwork, and pererverance. These attributes will go a lot farther in life than winning a game or making a perfect grade.
Coach, don’t cheerlead. Cheerleading parents don’t equip ther children to do better next time. By offering praise like “I can tell you have been practing because that was your best piano performance yet,” a child will correlate practice with positive praise.
False praise dimishes trust. Tell the truth. Even young kids can see right through false praise. If your child finished last in a race that he trained for tell him “I am so proud of how hard you tried,” not “You were the best one there.”
Be specific. Instead of saying “Good game today” be specific and use desciptive language like “Wow, you were really fast and did a great job dribbling the ball today.”
Avoid sarcasm. Don’t poison praise with snarky comments like “It’s about time you learned how to tie your shoe.” Children may not get your attempt at humor. Simply celebrate the event.
Don't overdo it. When your toddler puts his pants on by himself for the first time, it's worth making a big deal about it. But gushing over everyday achievements will cause your child to discount praise he's truly earned. It may also make him feel he constantly has to do things to impress you.
More tips on how to praise your child can be found at parents.com.