Praise is a thirst each human being has. All of us want to strive to be the best and earn praise. Children, especially ones who attend preschools and daycares love to do something right and get praised for it. Children feel good about themselves when they hear positive comments by their parents. Praise builds a child’s self-confidence. As great as praise can be, over-praise is bad. It’s like excess sugar. Praise dished out too frequently can make a child overly dependent on it or may feel meaningless as they have heard it way too many times. Too much praise may get the opposite effect – a child may feel too pressured to perform better and better.
Praise communicated value to a child. When you tell your child that he is clever and intelligent, he knows you value these qualities. Same goes for kindness and patience, your child will feel encouraged to be better. If, however you praise them as being brilliant or the smartest – extreme statements in the superlative, children are not able to quantify these and live up to the expectations. Perfect, brilliant and most beautiful children don’t exist in this world, so don’t expect it from your child.
On the other hand, negative statements convey a value to your child too. If your child is in preschool and gets himself into trouble often, it does not help him if he hears you talking about it with a neighbor. He hearing you talking about it frequently will only make him want to do it more – because this is how he perceives it. He will live up to your expectations. If you need to, address the problem with your child and infuse a lot of positivity in what you are saying so he will stop getting into trouble.
Parenting is one area of life where striking the perfect balance is usually impossible – give it your best shot because this is one place where there are no second chances.