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