Many parents tend to tell their children what not to do more often than they praise them for their good behavior. However, research studies have shown that children who receive praise for their positive behaviors are more likely to continue exhibiting those behaviors. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different types of praise and how to give it appropriately.

Praise The expression of approval or admiration for something or someone.

Praise for doing– Praising someone for what they did (a behavior).

  • “Good job,” “I like how you did that,” “thank you,” “awesome job,” “wow that is cool,” “you are so good at that.”

Praise for being- Praising someone for who they are

  • “I love you,” “you are special,” “I’m glad you are my daughter,” “you are such a cool kid.”

Children, like adults, enjoy receiving praise. When we are complimented, we feel good and are motivated to do even better next time. However, as humans, we tend to focus more on correcting unwanted behaviors than encouraging positive ones.

  • An example of paying more attention to negative behavior.
    • During a house cleaning session, a mom asks her two kids to watch cartoons while she cleans. The children sit quietly and watch TV for 45 minutes. Suddenly, the mom hears screaming and fighting, and rushes to the living room. She scolds the children for their behavior, which discounts the previous 45 minutes of good behavior. While it’s important to address negative behavior, it’s also worth considering that praising good behavior can be just as effective. For example, if the mom had gone to the room around 20 minutes into her cleaning and praised the children for sitting quietly, they might have continued to behave well in order to receive more praise.

Another common mistake that is made when giving praise, and I see this one a lot in my work is the “Thanks for mowing the lawn, even though I had to ask you for 3 days in a row to do it.” You just told them good job and bad job in the same sentence; guess which one they will remember? Not the praise…….. if your going to tell them good job for something, stay in the present, only give the praise.

There are often arguments with parents saying, “I shouldn’t have to always tell my child good job for them to do good, they should know what is expected and act right anyway.” And those parents are right to a certain extent. I do a lot of praise work and exercises during my sessions, and I have never had a child stop doing good things just because mom did not say good job. Just like with adults at work; if your boss does not say good job, that doesn’t mean you will go do a poor job on your next assignment.

Bottom line, if you want good behavior to continue or increase you need to praise them. Praise for being and praise for doing everyday!


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