When our children do something super, what will we do as parents? Surely, we should praise them. However, we should take care of praising our children. When given inappropriately, our praise will only result in a negative impact for them.
“Positive praise for children, in one hand, can strengthen their motivation, but on the other hand, it may also result in negative impacts,” said Najelaa Shihab to Kompas Female in a talkshow “The Myth and Fact about Early Stimulation at Home” in a series of Breastfeeding Fair event 2012 held by Asosiasi Ibu Menyusui Indonesia (AIMI) in Grand Indonesia, Central Jakarta, May 2, 2013.
To add, Najelaa stated that the wrong way of praising in a long time would influence the children’s behavior to become bad, lazy, or even worse – underestimating others. Then, how to make our praise has positive impacts to our children?
1. Praise the process, not the result
When praising their children, most parents are often focused on the results the children achieved. When giving praise for their children’s grade, parents will say, “Wah! You’re smart” or “You’re brilliant.” “Those expressions should be avoided in time of praising our children,” said Najelaa.
The words smart and brilliant are in fact a result of a learning process children do. To make the praise have a positive impact for children in a long term, it should use the words appreciating their learning process such as “You’ve been learning hard to get the top rank.”
In addition, it is better we avoid such words as “Mom’s daughter is so beautiful,” and change it with “Wah! Your clothes fit you,” or “your hair is so neat,” or the like. Those expressions are more focused on the process the children are doing and it may help them understand all they do has a benefit for their self growth.
“The negative impact of our praising with such words as smart and beautiful or others which merely refer to the result of something will make them think this is a nature. As a result, they may consider not needing to struggle to achieve those all,” she explained.
2. Express specifically
Perhaps, we often label our children “You’re super.” It had better be avoided, though. Truthfully, it sounds pleasant but it will have result in our children mind, only making them puzzled. “Express your praise in specific word and explain to your children when you praise their behavior,” she suggested.
Children don’t have the same mind as adult to recognize every word perfectly and understand it precisely. When we say “You’re super”, it actually isn’t an ideal praise for our children.
On the contrary, make clear the reason we label them super. For instance, “You’re super in that you eat vegetables.” The specific words will make them record all their “super” behavior and the will perform the same thing as we expect in the future.
Adapted from this