by Carrie Mega, LPC
Criticism for behavior is easier than praise inasmuch as negative behaviors are more noticeable than positive behaviors. But, if we’re willing to put in the work, there are many ways to praise a child that will not only promote self-esteem but encourage good behavior as well. Here are a few:
Simply Praise MORE Than Criticize – Try to find and praise what your child has done well, and do it often. When children hear their parents consistently and repeatedly praising them for positive choices and good behavior, they will have a healthier sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
Focus on Strengths—Everyone is different – Not all children are the same. Show your children you recognize and admire what they’re good at. Being able to praise your child for their strengths will encourage confidence and pride in themselves.
Praise Effort Not Just Achievement – Children need to hear they did well even if they didn’t achieve a specific goal. If they put forth great effort and really tried, they need to be recognized for their efforts. An example would be “I noticed you studied really hard for that test!”—regardless of the grade they made.
Look for Changes and Success – Don’t wait until a child has accomplished a goal to praise them. Do you see them having little successes and small victories? Let them know you’ve noticed! Encourage any improvement they have made.
These are just a few ideas that can strengthen your relationship with your children, and impart identity and a healthy sense of self-worth for them. Remember, everyone craves the praise of those they love, not only for achievement, but effort as well.
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