15 Tips To Give Healthy Praise To Our Kids

12 Huge MistakesOne of the parental mistakes Tim Elmore highlights in his newest book 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid is praising the wrong things. He writes—

“We live in a world of hyperbole. We think we must exaggerate to be heard. So we use words like awesome or excellent when our kids have done merely what is expected of them. We offer huge praise for minimal effort. As our children grow older, matching the affirmation with the effort becomes especially important. Not too little, but not too much. This is how trust is built, and it’s why kids continue to listen to their parents during teen years.” 

Dr. Elmore is not saying that we shouldn’t praise our kids, but that we should do it more intelligently, by making sure we are praising the right things. He offers this list for healthy, profitable praise for kids:

  1. Praise them for effort, not for their intelligence or beauty. 
  2. Reward character virtues (such as honesty) more than performance. 
  3. Teach them to enjoy the process as much as the product. 
  4. Make sure the size and content of your praise matches their effort. 
  5. Be sure your affirmation is sincere, thoughtful, and genuine. 
  6. Empower them by helping them own a personal set of values to live by. 
  7. Identify and affirm unique features that differentiate your kids. 
  8. Provide experiences for them to discover and build their primary strengths. 
  9. Furnish a platform for them to serve others using their strengths and gifts. 
  10. Tell them you enjoy watching them perform regardless of the outcome. 
  11. The younger they are, the more immediate your feedback for them must be. 
  12. Equip them to take risks and learned that failure is okay as long as they tried. 
  13. Build a secure home for them but one that does not revolve around them. 
  14. When in doubt, always praise what is in their control. 
  15. Clarify your unconditional love for them regardless of their performance.

If you would like to read my full book review of 12 Huge Mistakes, click here.

To read some other quotes I shared from this book, click here.

12 Quotes From “12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid”

12 Huge MistakesI highlighted a lot in Tim Elmore’s newest book 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid … a lot! This is book that every parent (or grandparent) should read because it’s never too late to invest the best in our (grand)children. You can read my full book review of this must-read book by clicking here. Below are just a few of the quotes I highlighted in this book.

“I believe we have under-challenged kids with meaningful work to accomplish. We have overwhelmed them with tests, recitals, and practices, and kids report being stressed-out by these activities. But they are essentially virtual activities. Adults often don’t give significant work to students—work that is relevant to life and could actually improve the world if the kids rose to the challenge. We just don’t have many expectations of our kids today.” 

“Every parent and teacher wants to see their kids succeed in school, in sports, and in life, but making it impossible to fail isn’t the answer. Removing failure, in fact, is a terrific way to stunt maturity. … As parents, we’ve given them lots of possessions but not much perspective. As educators, we’ve given them plenty of schools but not plenty of skills. As coaches, we’ve taught them how to win games but not how to win in life. As youth workers, we provide lots of explanations but not enough experiences. As employers, we’ve mentored them in profit and loss but haven’t shown them how to profit from loss.”

“Truth be told, when kids have heard they are excellent without working hard or truly adding value to a team, the praise rings hollow to them. Our affirmation must match their performance.”  

“When people—especially young people—know they are free to try something and fail, their performance usually improves. It brings out the best in them. But if they are preoccupied with trying not to fail, they become paralyzed:

  • Failure can create resilience.
  • Failure can force us to evaluate.
  • Failure can motivate us to better performance.
  • Failure prompts creativity and discovery.
  • Failure can develop maturity.”

“Our constant caving begins to foster a constant craving in them. They want clarity. With boundaries unclear, they need more direct attention from Mom or Dad. Unwittingly, we actually breed insecurity and instability in our kids. This may sound strange, but consistency may be your best friend as a parent because it aids in your authority and in your child’s development.” 

“Removing the consequences takes one of two roads. We either excuse their behavior and remove negative outcomes, or we actually step in and pay the consequence for them. When we do this, we frequently relieve the stress. We bring immediate peace to the situation, so we get addicted to this pattern. Unfortunately, we don’t see the long-term problems we are causing. Removing the consequences from our children’s lives brings short-term tranquility but long-term trouble.”

“‘You can do anything you want.’ I recognize why we say this, but as our kids grow older, we must help them to see what we really meant. … We really meant, if they set their mind to do something, they’ll be amazed at what they can pull off. The catch is, it needs to be something with in their gift area. They cannot simply make up a dream or copy a friend’s dream and call it theirs. Dreams should be attached to strengths.” 

“We have created a world of conveniences, filled with smart phones, microwaves, Internet shopping, and online banking. The subtle message is that struggles are to be avoided. We want as much convenience as possible. In fact, we feel entitled to it. But we failed to see that when we remove the struggles from our children’s lives, we begin to render them helpless. They don’t have the opportunity to develop the life skills they’ll need later on. Further, when we step in to control their levels of struggle, they don’t learn how to be in control or under control themselves. In fact, all they learn is how to be controlled.”

“Ironically, the things young people want to avoid are necessary for them to mature authentically. Slow, hard, boring, risky, laborious… these are the very challenges that prepare me to become a good man, a good husband, a good father, a good employee, a good employer. Many life skills that once naturally developed in us now atrophy in today’s culture. So we must be far more intentional about leading our kids into opportunities to build these skills.” 

“When we affirm looks or clothing—external matters instead of internal virtues—kids values become skewed. Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated. Without realizing it, we are reinforcing cosmetic features—usually features that are not in their control. … We should be doing just the opposite. We must affirm effort and behavior, which are in their control, instead of characteristics that are out of their control. If we do this, we begin to foster a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.”

“We mistake hurtful with harmful. Many times, hurting helps us. In fact, removing the hurt may be harmful. … When we hurt, we can learn important truths about ourselves and about others, truth that will be beneficial later in our lives. … We confuse disturbance with damage. We hate being disturbed. Our days are so full, we often hope and pray we won’t face any unexpected disturbances as we pursue our goals. The fact is, however, that on our way to those goals, we fall into unhealthy ruts. Interruptions force us out of those ruts. Interruptions are not damaging at all. They are the very items that save us from our tunnel vision. We need to be disturbed from time to time. Interruptions are wake-up calls that rouse us from our apathy or complacency.” 

“I know you think kids are tired of you talking about the good old days. But I’ve found most kids love hearing stories of how we adults struggled to learn the same life skills when we were young. It’s all part of growing up.”

12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid (book review)

12 Huge MistakesI read a lot of books, but very few of them get a “must read” designation from me. For parents and teachers, 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid by Dr. Tim Elmore fully earns my must-read label.

The future of our schools, our businesses, our communities and our country is being determined right now in our homes and in our schools. The way we raise our kids now will have far-reaching implications for all of us. Dr. Elmore has such a great way of speaking to the leadership issues of our young people, that I cannot urge you strongly enough to read this book.

Real quickly, the 12 huge mistakes that parents and teachers need to avoid are:

  • We Won’t Let Them Fail
  • We Project Our Lives On Them
  • We Prioritize Being Happy
  • We Are Inconsistent
  • We Remove The Consequences
  • We Lie About Their Potential And Don’t Explore Their True Potential
  • We Won’t Let Them Struggle Or Fight
  • We Give Them What They Should Earn
  • We Praise The Wrong Things
  • We Value Removing All Pain
  • We Do It For Them
  • We Prepare The Path For The Child Instead Of The Child For The Path

The book opens with a simple parenting quiz that will allow assess where you are in these 12 areas. Then you can turn to the chapter on which you scored the highest in the “overfunctioning parent” scale, and deal with that issue first. Each chapter is jam-packed with practical tips to correct that particular mistake.

Dr. Elmore describes the purpose behind his book this way—“Here’s the bottom line. I believe we need to face some new issues as parents. We must define what kids need from us to mature in a healthy way. We must figure out what hinders their growth and what equips them to be great adults. We must become both nurturers and trainers, knowing that we are not raising children, but future adults. I offer this book as a reference guide as you face your toughest challenges and attempt to get kids ready for life as they leave your home or school. Here’s to correcting our mistakes along the way—for their sake.”

Parents and teachers, go get this book!

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” —Wendell Berry

“It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” —Wendell Berry

“Wherefore seeing that all Christians know that the death of the religious beggar amongst the dogs, licking his sores, was better than the death of the wicked rich man in all his silks and purples, what power hath the horror of any kind of death to affright their souls that have led a virtuous life?” —Augustine

Parents & teachers should especially check out Tim Elmore’s post: 5 Ways To Cure The “Cool Kid” Curse. In this post he mentions his book Artificial Maturity; click here to read my review of this outstanding resource.

“We have thus plainly before us the principle, that our Lord in His infinite wisdom and superabundant love, sets so high a value upon His people’s faith, that He will not screen them from those trials by which faith is strengthened.” —Charles Spurgeon

Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading and watching from today…

An open letter that needs to be read: What’s The Big Deal With Pornography?

All doubts are an attack of the enemy; the Holy Spirit never suggests them, never. He is the Comforter, not the accuser; and He never shows us our need without at the same time revealing the Divine supply.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

“The only way to have a fulfilling life is to stop relying on your own savvy and start relying on God to provide the necessary turn of affairs.” —John Piper

 

[VIDEO] Speaking of John Piper, I am so excited about his new project called Look At The Book! Check out this preview.

President Obama unleashes another assault on our religious liberties.

Dr. Tim Elmore gives parents and teachers Five Words Every Child Needs To Hear.

Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading & watching today…

“The treacherous enemy facing the church of Jesus Christ today is the dictatorship of the routine, when the routine becomes ‘lord’ in the life of the church. Programs are organized and the prevailing conditions are accepted as normal. … That would be perfectly all right and proper for a cemetery. Nobody expects a cemetery to do anything but conform.” —A.W. Tozer

John Stonestreet reminds us that even in the scientific community, Macroevolution Has No Clothes.

“Father, we fear our deadly fondness for floating toward the falls when we ought to be swimming against the current. Oh, God, have mercy to waken us again and again to the perils of drifting in the Christian life. Help us heed Hebrews 2:1, ‘We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.’” —John Piper

I love this story: Communion On The Moon.

Hamas are terrorists pure and simple. The Egyptians get it. Why doesn’t the Western media get it? Why don’t Western leaders get it? And why don’t Christian leaders get it?” Read more about the Israeli battle against Hamas in Middle-East Meets Middle-Earth.

[VIDEO] Ken Davis has a hilarious take on airplane restrooms.

The Wall Street Journal rightly sees the situation at Gordon College as The Next Religious Liberty Case.

Dr. Tim Elmore lays out The Messages We Must Send To Millennials About Life After College.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“Let there be a method in our giving, so that the poor may not go away empty nor the subsistence of the needy be done away and become the spoil of the dishonest.” —Ambrose

“Passion for the glory of the Lord is the key to making a difference all out of proportion to who we are. It is not the prerogative of old or young, intelligent or simple, men or women. This passion can flame up in the heart of any saint. Do we want it enough to seek it?” —John Piper

“Of one thing we are very sure. There will be a full restoration of the apostolic gifts and the full power of Pentecost before the coming of the Lord….” Read more of this quote from Dr. Charles S. Price from over 75 years ago.

[INFOGRAPHIC] A very cool timeline of the book of Acts.

Dr. Tim Elmore shares One Antidote To Male Disillusionment. Very helpful for anyone working with young men.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading for today…

What you do with television in your home will help determine whether you and your family will be dumbed down. Let me suggest that you not watch (or let your kids watch) shows that play to the lowest common denominator in humanity… shows that are written and produced for, yes, I’ll say it…dumb people.  You might think they’re harmless and amusing, but are they really the best use of your time and, more importantly, your brain?” Read more from Mark Atteberry in his post The Dumbing Down Of America.

A great question: Where is the outrage over the bombardment of civilians in Israel?

David Wilkerson reminds us of the loving heart of Jesus our Shepherd.

A really cool story about the Cadbury family (who founded the Cadbury Chocolate company).

Tim Elmore shares the good news and bad news in his post Teen Trends.

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading and watching from today…

[VIDEO] Thanks to my friend Rich for telling me about the friendliest restaurant in America.

“No state is so blessed as that wherein one is free from sin, is filled with innocence, and is fully supplied with the grace of God.” —Ambrose

[VIDEO] John Maxwell has a good reminder about the power of personal discipline.

There are few who can express the love of God as Charles Spurgeon in The Glorious Love Of The Father.

Tim Elmore shares some counter-intuitive thinking for preparing our kids for success.

“If you want to hear from Heaven you must seek it on your knees.” —D.L. Moody

“Don’t be forced into this false dichotomy. Truth and love are not at odds. Rather, for the sake of love, cherish the truth. Let this love for truth and truth for love govern the use of language….” —John Piper

“Who will grant me to find peace in You? Who will grant me this grace, that You would come into my heart and inebriate it, enabling me to forget the evils that beset me and embrace You my only good?” —Augustine 

Don’t buy into it when Islam is called a religion of peace: ISIS terrorists targeting Christians in Iraq.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

Thrilled for the pro-life victory in today’s Supreme Court ruling!

[VIDEO] This is a really straightforward explanation behind the horror of the Plan B pill that Hobby Lobby stood firm against providing.

“We are always on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things.” —Henry Ward Beecher 

“Whatever we may undertake with a sincere desire to promote His glory, we may comfortably pursue. Nothing is trivial that is done for Him.” —John Newton

“I would never follow a leader who doesn’t follow a leader.” —John Maxwell

“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” —George Bernard Shaw

[VIDEO] Why didn’t anyone tell me that Star Wars’ Mark Hamill did the voice of Joker in the animated Batman series?!?

“Quiet heroes dot the landscape of our society. They don’t make the headlines, but they do sew the hemlines and check the outlines and stand on the sidelines. You won’t find their names on the Nobel Prize short list, but you’ll find their names on the carpool, and Bible teacher lists. They are parents! Heroes! Their kids call them mom. Dad. And these moms and dads, more valuable than all the executives and lawmakers, quietly hold the world together. Be numbered among them. Read books to your kids. Play ball while you can and they want you to. Make it your aim to watch every game they play, read every story they write, hear every recital in which they perform. Children spell love with four letters:  T-I-M-E. Not just quality time, but hang time, downtime, anytime, all the time! Cherish the children who share your name. Succeed at home first!” —Max Lucado

Dr. Tim Elmore has a great post called How Failure Can Be Your Kid’s Best Friend. And exciting news … he has a new book coming out! I cannot wait to read Twelve Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid.

 

“The cosmos exists to help you know God, the Maker. And the main message is that He is very great and that we are very small. We need to feel this greatness. We need to be able to say, ‘You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You’ (2 Samuel 7:22).” —John Piper

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