Children's health

How to praise a child correctly and constructively: 10 tips

Как хвалить ребенка правильно и конструктивно

Praise — it's a simple and fun way to express your encouragement and  approval to your child. But how to praise a child correctly and with benefit? Psychologists are sure that praise can both help a child become more successful and harm him. When parents and educators use words of praise incorrectly, they make children hostage to praise and make them feel like failures.  they lose their motivation, creativity and trust in adults.

So praise isn not as simple as it seems at first glance. In order for it to work, you must know how to use it.

Parental praise: two sides of the coin

Most often, moms and dads praise the child to express their admiration for his work, to support and motivate him to success. It would seem that everything is simple: tell your child more often how great he is, the best, smartest and wonderful, and it will happen. At least a son or daughter will grow up confident in their abilities and sooner or later achieve success.

This works in a certain way with preschoolers, when toddlers are not yet critical of parental words. They need to be encouraged. However, the older the child, the more he compares himself with the realities of the surrounding world. Children see that they are not always "well done", "did their best", "the smartest or the most beautiful".  they lose motivation, trust in parents, fear of failing to cope with new tasks and become losers.


Psychologists were the first to notice that praise has the opposite effect:

  • Praise can make children addictive. They lose interest in activities and only worry about the result. This can be clearly seen in the example of some schoolchildren, for whom grades are important, and not knowledge.

  • Children are afraid to take risks and do something new for them.They are too dependent on words of encouragement and don't want to be seen as failures. Therefore, they often choose easier paths, avoiding difficulties where they can fail.

  • Sometimes praise becomes manipulation in the hands of an adult who wants to get a desired result or behavior from the child. The worst thing about this is that the child himself doesn learn to hear himself and grows dependent on the opinions of others and approval.

  • Children who are oriented towards praise, lack creativity, independence and creativity in their activities. All this is impossible without mistakes, trying yourself in different areas, defending your opinion.

  • Insecure children don feel more confident because of excessive praise.They feel like they are being laughed at or deceived. They also avoid difficult or new tasks.

Read also: What is the biggest mistake parents make when raising children?

How to praise a child: 10 tips for parents

Don't praise your child — also not exit. He will try to earn any kind word from parents. And in the same way can grow up dependent on the opinions of others and unsure of themselves.

Read also: How to get your child to study and should do it

So how do you praise a child so that he grows up with healthy self-esteem and does sit difficulties? The whole secret — in wording. Constructive praise is best suited for this, when parents praise not  the personality of the child, but his efforts, efforts and results.

10 tips for parents on how to properly praise a child:

  1. Do not give a personal, evaluative characteristic of the child. Such generalized phrases "You the most beautiful/smart/smart", "Well done", "Great job", "You" are a good child /boy/girl» not suitable because they tell the child that they are loved for certain actions. If he stops making them, then  and ceases to be good for parents. Then it's better not to take risks, otherwise you will become bad. In this case, it is unlikely the child will have healthy self-esteem and sufficient motivation to become better.

  2. Make your praise specific. Don't evaluate the child ("good boy"), but the actions or deeds ("thank you for washing the dishes, you've helped me a lot"). First, it shows that you appreciated the child's efforts. Secondly, they expressed their feelings about this. From the simple word "well done" the child will not receive all this information.

  3. Experts in communication with children Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (Authors of Perfect Parents in 60 minutes. A crash course from world's parenting experts,  How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk») advise parents to describe what they see or feel: You struggled with this problem until found a solution !", "I like your painting "Sunset on sea“. It creates a feeling of happiness and peace». They compare this technique with real magic, which helps the child to believe in themselves and 

  4. Praise must be sincere and honest if you want your child to believe you.Do not brush the child with laudatory generalities. He will sense your insincerity and disinterest.

  5. Don't praise what given to the child easily or given from nature, so that he avoids situations where effort is needed.

  6. Be careful when you want to praise a child who is passionate about his work. He he always has enough motivation to continue it.

  7. If a child has made a mistake, but you want him not to lose faith in himself leave pity and general words. Focus on what he succeeded and over what more work to be done.

  8. Don't compare your child with others.You risk of raising a child only to win. But sometimes, in order to achieve the goal, you have to be able to lose. Or someone who will consider himself not good enough for happiness and success.

  9. Praise your child for the efforts made, for the desire to develop, learn, change.

  10. Consider children's mistakes as part of growth and development.

    Don't make a tragedy out of them. If the child behaves badly, try to emphasize their good deeds by using constructive praise.

Read also: 

8 tips on how to raise a smart child The most important thing about  how to praise a child

Praise can be harmful to a child if it focuses on the child personality and is common said out of habit or hastily. This reduces the children's motivation to continue their activities, self-confidence and causes fear of failure. Constructive praise, on the contrary, helps the child to focus on intrinsic motivation and to enjoy the process itself.

Constructive Praise Rules:

    speak sincerely and honestly;
  • be specific, describe what you see or feel;
  • praise for efforts and willingness to change, results, and not character traits;
  • avoid empty praise for what it comes so easily to a child.
Read also: 

Supporting children: the power of parental support

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  • Comments (1)

    29 сентября 2019, 22:28

    Я раньше думала, что хвалю своего сына, и это хорошо. А оказалось, что неправильно да еще и во вред получается. прочитала подробно как правильно хвалить, очень познавательно для меня было, есть над чем задуматься.

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