In China, in many places, praise is rare for children. They worry for the effects when children are praised – that too much praise can inflate ego. People can become too big for their britches.
This might be an ancient concern, but it was how West took praise as well. The things have changed today. People are seen praising each other more often; especially kids are lavishly praised with a belief that, quality praise makes a child more confident, motivated, and more inclined towards challenges.
Does Praise Have Good Effects on Children?
Maria Montessori saw years ago – that children don’t need to be praised or everything they do. They don’t even need rewards for their smartness and talent, rather telling them how smart and talented they are can create the opposite.
Dr. Montessori’s philosophy on praise and encouragement claimed that, it’s best to praise children for the effort and work they did. And at the same time the praise has to be sincere, effective and specific. Milton Montessori School system practices Montessori rules and believes; praise works in some cases, but in other, praise can undermine a child’s motivation.
What is Effective Praise?
Montessori declared that praise can be a great motivation force, if done right. For instance, quality praise from a mother to a child can develop good social skills in the child and a positive attitude. Some guidelines parents can use for their toddlers and that are followed in Montessori school systems for raising confident and well self-esteem children are as follows:
- Praise children sincerely and specifically
- Praise kids for their attributes and their traits that they can change
- A descriptive praise is more powerful (A praise that conveys attainable standards)
- Don’t praise for achievements that are easy
- Don’t praise kids for the things they love doing already
- Encourage kids for focusing on struggling and mastering skill – and not comparing them while they are making the effort
- Let the child has his or her own time for understanding and achieving
Here’s an explanation for some of these guidelines which can further clear about “effective praise” and its effects on children:
Praise Children sincerely and specifically – If your praise is insincere and the child recognizes it, it will damage his self esteem and trust. An insincerely and a praise on everything a child does will damage his self-confidence and will develop the understanding that you don’t understand your child, leading to an inability of understanding his own strength and skills.
Avoid Over-Praising Your Child for Doing Things He loves Doing – Its okay to praise the child for anything that he loves doing, but avoid overdoing it. This can reduce the level of motivation in them.
Avoid Praise with Comparison – It might seem good in praising your child for competing someone else, but this can only work until the kid continues in hitting the first position always. If the competitive edge slips, the motivation will fade out. The second factor this kind of praise leads to is that when kids are told that their goal lies in outperforming the other kids, the motivation loses. For kids, things are interesting only until it permits them to show that they are the best.
Praise Kids for The Traits They Have the Power to Change – Praising for talent or intelligence makes kids become more cautious. This lets them avoid challenges. They become afraid in trying out new things – a failure to lose high appraisal. This gives kids the idea that it’s something they have or not, leaving him helpless. Instead praise them for the things or abilities they can change – level of effort and strategy.