Today, most parents praise their children for every little thing they do. It’s far different from the early generations, where parents hold back commending their kids as they prefer to show their tougher side.
If you love flattering your kids, you should know by now that it’s not the best way to raise them. Check out the most common compliments that parents give their kids and the reasons why complimenting them all the time is not a good idea:
- “You got good grades!”
Parents will definitely rejoice when their kids get excellent grades. However, experts believe that commending their efforts and not the grades is better. According to Laura Markham, PhD, author of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting,” people are happier with a “growth mindset” rather than a “fixed mindset.”
Kids will do better in their studies if they know that they should strive for it rather than having a mindset that they are already good because they have the tendency not to exert any more effort. Child development experts believe that they should be encouraged to have a growth mindset, so that they will work hard to succeed.
It’s better to tell kids “You are now getting used to with solving Math problems after all the practice.” This will make them realize that working hard is part of their success.
“Your work is beautiful”
Saying “your work is beautiful,” may sound good, but it may lead kids to think that their work will be assessed all the time. This may hurt their self-confidence. The better way to praise them is by telling a particular positive point about their work, or compliment them for their dedication in doing a specific work.
- “You’re good.”
Praising children that they are “good” may lead them to think people are either “good” or “bad.” Moreover, they may think that they should act well in front of you all the time, even they are not really are. This doesn’t help them to become more comfortable about themselves because they will tend to hide their true identity just to please you. Focus more on their actions rather than their labeling them good or bad.
- “You’re pretty.”
We often praise girls for their attractive appearance or clothes. This makes the issue of gender bias more prominent. Girls think that their worth is dependent on their appearance. If they don’t look pretty, they have less value. Studies have shown that Elementary girl students are trying very hard to look pretty all the time. Their tendency is to concentrate on improving their physical appearance rather than in other aspects, such as their studies or talents.
- “You’re so smart!”
Parents nowadays believe that their kids are very smart when they get high grades, or when they excel at something. However, child development experts say that complimenting them for getting good grades or for doing something good is not really good for them.
Kids have this thinking that smartness is inborn. Christia Spears Brown, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Kentucky warn that this kind of thinking is not good because they will think that they are smart when they outshine others, and they will think that someone is not smart for not being too good to do something.
Instead of praising them, parents should emphasize their hard work than the results. Tell them “I’m happy with how much effort you exerted to top the exams,” than saying “You’re so smart for being the highest in the exams.”
Cecille Shore finished her degree in Psychology at the University of Oxford. She now works as a child development consultant and practitioner, speaker and author of several books about raising children in the new generation. She devotes her free time in doing charitable works and doing free consultation at this website.