Addicted to Praise

Over praising the kids

Image Credit: Flickr User eyeliam, via CC

Yes! We all have become the kind of parents that our parents made fun of.  In those times the number of such parents who molly coddled their kids was much lesser. Now, all of us have been bitten by the praising bug. We praise our kids if they finish their food, where as we got a scolding if we did not eat our food. They get appreciated for finishing the homework, we got a scolding from the teacher if we did not do our homework. Is there a rule book that can tell us what is the right way to go? We turned out okay, didn’t we? We don’t throw tantrums if we do not get praised for doing something that we were supposed to do in the first place.

Is there something like too much praise? Are we addicting our children to excessive compliments? You must be wondering what could be wrong with positive reinforcement.

Well, here is the thing, we are drowning our kids in praise and it is definitely not helping them.

My six year old is unable to understand  why parents correct him sometimes, he thinks that he only deserves to be appreciated. When I look at my elder kid who was not a victim of my extra positive reinforcement she is absolutely fine with a little bit of criticism. She takes it in her stride, lucky for her when she was in her formative years , I was too busy with the younger kid rather than praising her for everything.  She likes to take risks where as my younger one is always looking for my approval. He tries to choose challenges in which he feels that he will succeed  and gets praise in return.  Although my younger one is really good at whatever he does, but still I feel that he has a fear of failing that holds him back a little bit.

Another thing that I feel is that because of excessive praising, the expectation of praise becomes bigger than the pleasure of achieving the milestones. When my elder one achieves something she says “I did it”. My younger one always asks “Did I do okay?”. See the difference.

I am not saying that do not praise your kids, just be careful of what you are appreciating them for and how you do it. First of all save the praising for bigger achievements. When you are praising them do so for their effort rather than saying things like, “Awesome! you are a genius”. Don’t label them to be intelligent or smart for doing something great because they start associating success with smartness and guess what happens if they fail. They start feeling as if they are not smart anymore. You can praise them by saying ” You are proud of all the effort that they put in”. If they painted something nice and bring it to you, you could ask them what they feel is the good part and what could be improved. Don’t be vague and use statements like “Good job”, be specific  in your praise.

Keep in mind that sometimes too much of a good thing ceases to be a good thing!!

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