Children thrive on encouragement but parents often dish out praises. 

You may wonder what the difference is.

The difference may be difficult for most of us to see because we praise and see results.

Praising your children teaches them to seek your approval. 

It teaches them to do things to please you and make YOU feel happy and pleased with them. 

With praises, children learn to depend on what others think. 

They will do things they don’t like or don’t need to do just to hear you say, “I am proud of you or great job”. 

Most of us are used to praise because that’s what we grew up with.

Do you usually praise your child when he/she does something to impress you?

If your child always gets an A in English, you are likely to praise him/her and show off to a few family and friends but you not going to be inclined to do so or might get displeased when she gets a lower grade.

Can you see the limitation of dishing out praises yet?

 You may be thinking “How can that be? 

How can saying, ‘Good job’ or ‘I’m proud of you’ be bad? 

It makes my child happy, it makes me feel good and it’s easy!”

I understand Sis. It can be a difficult habit to break — and the fact that it feels good only increases our resistance to giving it up.

Now, let’s look at encouragement. 

Your child does not have to be the best to be encouraged. 

With encouragement, you appreciate the effort. 

It can be given at any time, to anyone, in any situation. 

It is an observation, an acknowledgement of the effort your child has put into a task.

Do you see the difference yet?

If your child always ask “Do you like it?” “Did I do a good job?” “Are you proud of me?” “Did I do it right?”, then you have been feeding them with praises. 

Praise trains children to want to know how you feel. 

They begin to allow your approval to determine their choices, their actions and it does not allow them to grow beyond their mistakes because they know you will only show disapproval.

The message they get from you is — “I approve of you when you pass … “and “I do not approve of you when you. … “

Doing this can damage not only the child’s confidence but also the relationship with you.

Encouragement is often confused with praise. 

Here is a story to illustrate the difference:

Anisa got a C in her math test – she normally gets an A- but her mother did not scold her or show displeasure.

Instead, her mom said “Wow, you got a C. Tell me about that. What do you think happened? They talked about it and noted where the problem was.

If  her mother had expressed disappointment, she may have missed the opportunity to help Anisa discover where the problem stemmed from.

Children who thrive on praise often make life decisions that they believe will make their parents happy.

Using encouragement instead of praises teaches your child to:

  • Believe that they have your support no matter what.
  • Figure out what they want and what makes them happy.
  • Spend less time seeking outside approval to make them feel good.
  • Figure out what is important to them, which will make it possible for them to create a satisfying and meaningful adult life.

The school year is coming to an end. Will you use this opportunity to encourage your child no matter what their grades are?

I hope you have learnt something. If yes, would you like to join me in the Parenting for Jannah Academy? You should join the waitlist HERE to be notified when next we are open.