Empty praise as bad as thoughtless criticism?

Authentic parenting is the key to an honest relationship with our children. However, praise can be just as detrimental as punishment when it is used as a conditioning tool for favorable behavior.

The article below is a bit black and white, however we always encourage you to let a child know how you really feel. This can, by consequence, be genuine praise. It is possible to be genuinely blown away by what your child creates, and there is no problem expressing this.

Here’s an excerpt from an interesting publication entitled, Killing with compliments: Parents’ praise sets children up for failure: U.K. psychologist:

Admiring our children may temporarily lift our sense of self-esteem, but it isn’t doing much for a child’s sense of self,” he says. “Empty praise is as bad as thoughtless criticism — it expresses indifference to the child’s feelings and thoughts.

We encourage you to read this article here.

Practical examples:

Your child paints you a picture. Your response, ‘This is a masterpiece!’ Would you tell a stranger at an art gallery that this same painting was a masterpiece? Rather, you can connect with the truth, ‘I am thrilled that you are expressing yourself through art. I will put this on the refrigerator and I would love to see more.’

Your child has her first vocal recital. Your response, ‘You were incredible!’ ‘Incredible’ is a top-shelf word. Instead, ‘I am proud of you for spending your time being so creative, I also respect your courage to perform. I can’t wait to hear you sing again!’

Your child says, ‘Dad, come check me out on drums. I’ve mastered it.’ You listen, and it is subpar at best… An authentic response could be something like, ‘I am really happy that you have a desire to be a drummer. I will support you fully in your pursuit to being an awesome drummer. Mastery takes time, if it were easy, this word wouldn’t have any meaning!’

Being authentic can be brutal, however your children will begin to respect your words, and feel an even closer connection with you.

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