Put Parental Praise and Criticism to Good Use

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Jonathan, Eng

How to put Parental Praise and Criticism to Good Use

If you're a parent and not sure how to put praise and criticism to good use, pause for a moment and put yourself in your child's shoes; how do you feel when you are praised, and consequently, how do you feel when the opposite happens - when you are criticized? Usually people act similarly, while others' feelings may vary depending on the kind of situation and the person you are receiving this from. Some parents fear that their kids might get big-headed when they are praised, but this won't happen if the praise is truly deserved and genuine, as well as balanced by certain boundaries made clear, and just penalties for bad behavior.

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With kids, you'll be amazed at how praise can work wonders. Let them know that you like what they are doing, instead of merely telling them you don't like it when they misbehave. You'll soon find out they respond much better when they are praised rather than criticized, shouted at or nagged. See the glow of joy and pride on their faces every time their efforts are acknowledged. This helps them remember the more preferable things to say and do, and they will probably try to do the same thing the next time - or even better. As a parent know that it is a good thing for you to be able to comfortably give out and receive praise because it's one of those things that help you as a human being to make life's hardships easier and more bearable. You will be doing your kids an awful lot of good if you can pass this on to them.

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For a lot of individuals, however, trying to figure out kind and nice things to say to other people can be really difficult, awkward even. Consequently, they are embarrassed every time they are complimented by someone else or congratulated for a job well done. Ironically, criticism is a lot easier to do because apparently, it's more familiar. Perhaps it just takes a little practice of both giving out and getting praise. The more often you do it, the easier it will be. Here are some helpful tips on how to put parental praise and criticism to good use:

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Helpful Techniques when Praising your Child

  1. 1
    Give your kid your full attention
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  2. 2
    Keep your kid close to you.
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  3. 3
    Share their joy and genuinely look pleased.
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  4. 4
    Describe what you liked about what your child did and be very specific about it.
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  5. 5
    Ask your child for an opinion.
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  6. 6
    Maintain eye contact.
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  7. 7
    Don't be afraid to show warmth through the tone of your voice
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  8. 8
    Lovingly touch your child.
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  9. 9
    Allow your child to feel proud of himself by telling him so
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If in case you are already in the habit of praising your kid, try to see how you're doing it and find out if there's anything you want to change about it, or add something to it to make it even better. If this is all new to you and will be doing it for the first time, don't worry about it. You can start practicing one or two of these ideas, continually adding more as you go along and become more comfortable each time. Eventually, you'll get used to it and soon it will just be second nature to you. Start by trying to figure out what it is that you want to praise and try visualizing this personal encounter with your child, making it a whole lot easier.

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Distinguishing Praise for Being from Praise for Doing

There are two ways your child can be praised for, one is for doing, and the other is for being.

  1. 1
    Praise for doing
    When you praise your child for doing you are telling them that you've noticed how remarkable the things they are doing and you appreciate it. Acknowledging your child's efforts will acknowledge them to try and make another go at it, increasing their chances to succeed.
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  2. 2
    Praise for being
    This is when you tell your child that you value them simply for being themselves, having their own personality or qualities, for instance. The point is, they do not have to accomplish or do anything for them to earn your compliment, because it's unconditional.
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This is not easy - deciding when to give praise for doing or being. It will help a lot if you start contemplating your motives for praising them. Do you praise your child when you see something being accomplished, or simply because you happened to think about it and it's genuinely true? For example, praising your kid for sharing his toy with his cousin is a praise for doing, while telling your kid at some other time that he is generous without connecting it to any specific event is an example of a praise for being.

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Effective Ways of Encouraging and Praising your Children

Things you can say as a parent:

  • Good job!
  • You are definitely a lot of fun to be with.
  • Now that's what I call nice and tidy.
  • Thank you for your help.
  • You are definitely improving and I know you can do better!
  • It's so nice to have you home.
  • I see a girl/boy carrying a glass gingerly.
  • You're up for school early? That's great!
  • Whatever you are up to, I know you are doing a great job!
  • That's really impressive.
  • I'm so glad to see you.
  • It's always so nice to hug you.

Things you can do as a parent:

  • Giving a gentle pat on the back or head.
  • Put your arm around your child's shoulder.
  • Give a high five.
  • Display their achievements to show your pride such as their certificates, drawings, and awards.
  • Applaud.
  • Give them a nice, big smile.
  • Give out stars, stickers, or badges.
  • Give food treats, but always in moderation.
  • Giving out an award such as watching his favorite movie together, a trip to the ocean park, and a bit of spending money.
  • Taking time out to find out their personal interests, while also introducing them to your own, and doing one of them together if you can, whenever you get the chance.

This list is merely an example, and you're definitely free to add ideas of your own. No one knows your children better than you or the things they'll tend to enjoy.

Other Tips and Warnings on How to Avoid Praise Pitfalls

It's good to tell your child that you like their behavior, but also remember that they need to know you love them no matter what, and simply put, that it's unconditional. There are pitfalls you need to avoid such as implying criticism, taking credit for what they've accomplished, or offering advice. Here are a few examples of the right and wrong way to conduct praise:

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Scene 1: A father says this to his son:

  • WRONG:

"They chose you to be on the team? I told you practicing with me would definitely get you in!"

  • RIGHT:

"They chose you to be on the team? Congratulations! You deserve it after all the hard work you put into it!"

Scene 2: A mom tells her daughter:

  • WRONG:

"You passed this semester? At last, you've finally started working on your academics!"

  • RIGHT:

"Your grades are much better this semester. Congratulations! I observed you've been working hard, and your teacher says the same thing."


  • Remember, if your kids hear you giving out praise, they are most likely to take after your example and learn how to say things they like to others as well.</b> It's also a good idea to encourage your kids to pat themselves on the back when they do something well, and ask how they actually feel about it. And that's how you put parental praise and criticism to good use.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Categories : Noindexed pages | Parenting

Recent edits by: Jonathan, Lynn, Nerissa Avisado

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