4 Things Every Parent Should Understand To Help Their Children’s Development

Having experience with children regularly here at East Cork Taekwon-Do & studying the latest psychology research to help best develop our students, we are happy to share some tips with parents.

The concept of praise can be one of a parents most valuable tools to help mould their child into a confident and righteous adult. With this in mind, why do parents not use praise more? In fact, it is not the frequency with which the praise is given, but the effectiveness of the praise. To ensure that you are praising your child effectively, it is important to understand the four points of praise. Without which, praise is useless. These four points include the why, how, what, and when.

  1. Why should I give praise?
  2. How should I give praise?
  3. What should I praise?
  4. When should I give praise?

This will allow parents to give effective and beneficial praise.

Why should I give praise?

Praise is very important for a child and can be very useful in building their character. Praise can improve self-motivation in children. If a child is praised when showing a certain behaviour, they will be more driven in this area in order to feel the further satisfaction of praise. Likewise, praise is extremely useful for parents to engrain correct behaviour in children in a positive method. Although criticism is a vital part of life for both children and adults, praise can act as an alternative. Instead of enforcing what not to do, a parent is enforcing what a child should do. Another key benefit of praise for a child is building self-confidence. Not only does praise show a child that they are good at something or have done something good, it also teaches them that it is acceptable to be proud of these particular moments. The concept of self-confidents is one of the most important concepts for a child to grasp. Through the use of effective praise, a child will begin to understand the balance between self-confidence and overconfidence. However, an incorrect use of praise can result in the opposite. A child with a lower self-confidence and a dependency on praise. By understanding the following three points of praise, you will be equipped with the skills to apply positive and effective praise into your child’s life.

How should I give praise?

When discussing how to give praise, it is important to look at the two different types of praise: general praise and specific praise. General praise is generic praise. From this type of praise, children do not understand exactly what is being praised. This miscommunication can often lead to children misunderstanding what aspect of their action or behaviour is being praised. As a result, the praise loses its use to show the child what is deemed to be good behaviour. It also results in the praise appearing to be insincere, which results in lower self-motivation and self-confidence. Simply, this sort of ineffective praise has led to the contrary of what we aim to achieve by using praise. Parents should strive to use specific praise to replace general praise. Specific praise focuses on the particular behaviour or action that you wish to encourage. By using specific praise as an alternative to general praise, a child learns an important lesson from the use of praise instead of just receiving compliments. As a result, we should strive to replace ‘good job’ or ‘well done’, with ‘I really like how you helped your sister with her shoes, good job’. This type of praise pinpoints the exact behaviour or action which is receiving the praise. This brings us on to what should receive praise.

What should I praise?

It is important to praise behaviour or actions over skill and talent. Children will subconsciously associate praise with the action they are completing when they receive it. As a result, if a child is continuously praise solely for their skill or talent, then the child begins to associate their worth with talent. This results in a child being afraid to take necessary risks in life for fear of failure or disapproval. It is also beneficial to praise actions or behaviours which can be repeated by anyone. This will inspire siblings to mimic the favourable behaviour and to pay attention to their own attitudes. However, one of the biggest benefits to a child of praise an attitude over a talent is that it reinforces the importance of effort and work ethic over raw talent. An important life lesson to instil in children.

When should I give praise?

One of the most important points of praise is its timing and frequency. Even if we know the Why, How, and What in relation to praise, it will not be effective without correct timing and monitoring the frequency. For praise to be most effective, it must follow immediately after the action or behaviour has occurred. As with specific praise, the timing of the praise must be prompt for the child to properly associate it with the desired action or behaviour. Although praise is a very powerful tool, the frequency at which praise is given needs to be monitored to ensure it is effective. Overuse of praise suggests that the praise may be insincere and results in lower self-confidence. It also eventually results in praise becoming worthless as the child does not value praise as it should be. Likewise, the under use of praise can make a child feel worthless and inadequate. It is up to each parent to find the balance in the frequency of praise in relation to their child. When doing this, it is important to observe the child’s body language and attitudes.

Just remember, the main goal of praise is to reinforce a positive behaviour and boost self-motivation and self-confidence. It should be used for behaviours and actions which are valued and admirable. So, the next time you praise your child think of the four points of praise to ensure it is effective praise.