BY NIKKI MORRO-PARENT COACH
If you want your child to be motivated to do the right thing, (even when others aren’t looking), to feel an internal sense of pride, and to persist through challenges, then listen up! Your attention is a powerful reinforce, so let’s make sure you are doing it, in a way that will benefit your child in the LONG TERM. To be honest, the distinction between “encouragement” and “praise,” is something that I learned rather recently. It makes so much sense, and makes such a huge difference, that I had to pass it on to you.
So, in a nutshell, the difference between “encouragement” and “praise,” is that encouragement focuses on the “process,” and the feelings of the person doing the task/working towards a goal. Praise focuses on the “end goal/result,” and puts more emphasis on how the person giving the praise feels. For example, encouragement would look like: “Wow, you got an “A” on your project! You must be so proud of yourself! It looks like all your hard work paid off. How do you feel?”. Praise would sound like: “I am so proud of you for getting an “A” on your project! You are such a smart girl! It makes me so happy when you get good grades!”.
Studies have shown that encouragement builds a sense of “internal” confidence, and leads to your child’s ability to take on a challenge, and persevere through adversity. Praise, if used too much, can build a false sense of confidence, that is dependent on “external” sources of validation. When a child becomes dependent on others for their self-worth, they tend to shy away from challenges. Their “intrinsic motivation” is overpowered by their fear of failure, and their need to maintain their “positive image”. In other words, their motivations are “extrinsically” based on how they can avoid looking “bad,” and/or a need for approval from others; rather than a true love of learning, and an internal drive for accomplishment.
So many of us, me included, have been brought up by well-meaning parent, who did not know the effects of their words. Let’s try to change our language, to focus more on our kids, and their hard work, rather than how “proud” we will be if they get that “A”. By giving more “encouragement” and less “praise” we can instill in our children a lifelong love for learning, a desire to take on challenges, and the ability to preserver through adversity. If we teach them, that how THEY feel about themselves, means so much more than what others think, then we have given them a gift that can never be taken away. How powerful is that!
For more specifics on this tip, watch this video blog:
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