Praise the effort

When you observe a group of children, you can see that some seem to be highly self-motivated, but others aren't. Have you ever wondered why?

There are many influences at work, of course, but one of the key reasons to their attitude is the right kind of outlook they have about work and success. Are they born with it? Not necessarily. Then can such an attitude be induced? Most definitely. One of the ways you can do that is by giving them the right kind of praise.

The self-worth and confidence of a child is linked to how willingly she works towards her goals, and how well she can overcome obstacles. For this, a child must receive honest evaluation of her abilities.

We as parents are very quick to shower exuberant praise on our children for every little thing they do. While praise is necessary, what we praise, and how we praise is of utmost importance. Children need to know what exactly it is about their work that is praiseworthy. Similarly, they need to know what can be done better too.
Your child shows you a clay model of a dog she has made, you might usually say, “It's so good!” But instead, you could say, “ I saw you concentrating a lot to get the shapes right. Well done!”

If your child has completed her math homework correctly, and you want to tell him she has done a good job, you could say, “I see that you worked very hard to get your sums right.” Effective praise lies in praising the efforts, and not the result.
Constant praising of the result, or of children's abilities, sets them up for high expectations about themselves and their abilities.

And that might actually make them feel anxious about their performance, and bring about a fear of failure in that effort to please people around them and get constantly lauded for everything. That sense of entitlement to praise is also not a good thing for improvement.

For example, your child comes home and tells you that he won the first prize in a music competition. If your response is, “Well done! You are an excellent singer!” You are then setting the child up to believe that he is inherently talented, and that becomes the standard to which he holds himself.

Every successive time, he feels compelled to perform the same. And when he fails, he gets demotivated. Also, if he believes in inherent talent, he might not think too much of working hard towards his next success, because, hey, anyway he is such a good singer!

On the other hand, when he conveys the result to you, if you say, “Well done! All the hard work you did practising for the competition paid off!” This lays emphasis on hard work, which is essential for the child to improve in future.
But there is one exception. We ought to praise considerate behaviour, and the inherent goodness in the child ,because they have to know that what they just did was good.

“How sweet of you to notice that Grandma was tired and bring that footstool for her.”
“It was very thoughtful of you to be silent when I was lying down with a headache.”
 However, we should let them know we love them unconditionally. They should not get the idea that our love for them is based on what they did or did not do. So go ahead and be generous with the right kind of praise!

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