There’s a huge difference between blindly praising your kids and strategically praising them for the right things.
The key here is intentionality. Blind praise can create entitled kids who feel like they deserve applause for everything. But strategic praise? That’s about fostering confidence and leading them towards success.
As a parent, it’s about encouraging the right behaviors and attitudes that will not only make them successful but also confident in their abilities.
I’ve found that there are specific things we should be praising our kids for, and I’m going to share them with you.
Let’s dive into the nine things you should start praising your kids for, if you want them to be more successful and confident.
It’s crucial to understand that praising kids merely for their intelligence or talent can lead to a fixed mindset. They might start thinking they’re either good at something or not, with no room for improvement.
But when you praise them for the effort they put into something, you’re fostering a growth mindset. This reinforces the idea that they can always improve and get better, which is a vital lesson for life.
Effort is about persistence, hard work, and determination. These are the qualities that truly matter in the long run.
So instead of saying “You’re so smart,” try saying “I’m really impressed with how hard you worked on this.”
Success isn’t always about being the best. It’s about continually striving to do better. And that’s a lesson worth teaching our kids.
I’ll never forget this one evening when my daughter was around 7 years old. We were out for a family dinner and she noticed an elderly man struggling to walk across the restaurant. Without a second thought, she jumped up, rushed over, and offered him her arm for support.
In that moment, I was more proud of her than I could ever express. Not for her grades or her achievements in sports, but for her inherent kindness.
From then on, I made sure to praise her for such actions. Not only to reinforce her behavior but also to show her that kindness is as valuable as intelligence or talent.
Instead of just saying “good job”, try saying “You were really kind to help the old man, that was beautiful to see”. It shows them that their actions have an impact on others and that being kind is a wonderful trait to possess.
Did you know that Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious”?
Curiosity is the fuel for discovery, learning, and innovation. It’s an important trait to nurture in children from a young age.
Praise your kids when they ask questions or show interest in learning more about a specific topic. This encourages them to continue exploring the world around them and seeking answers.
When your child asks a barrage of questions, instead of brushing them off, you could say, “I love how curious you are! It’s great that you’re asking so many questions.” This helps them understand that curiosity is a good thing and should be embraced.
Life is full of ups and downs. It’s not about how many times we fall, but how many times we get back up. This is a lesson we want our kids to learn early on.
Resilience is all about bouncing back from failures and setbacks. It’s about not letting hard times stop them from moving forward.
When your child experiences a setback, praise their resilience. Say something like, “I’m proud of you for not giving up,” or “It’s great to see you trying again, even though it’s hard.”
This will help them understand that failure is just a part of life and that what truly matters is their ability to keep going despite the challenges.
In a world where bending the truth can sometimes seem like the easy way out, teaching our kids the value of honesty is more important than ever.
When your child exhibits honesty, make sure you acknowledge and praise it. If they admit to making a mistake or tell the truth in a difficult situation, let them know you’re proud.
Try saying something like, “I’m really proud of you for telling the truth, even though it was hard. That’s very brave of you.”
This encourages them to be truthful in the future and helps them understand the importance of honesty in building trust and maintaining good relationships.
One evening, my young son came home from school looking particularly thoughtful. When I asked him about his day, he shared that one of his friends was upset because her pet had passed away. He had spent his lunch break sitting with her, just listening and being there for her.
Witnessing such empathy in my little boy brought tears to my eyes. This emotional intelligence, this ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is a trait I want to nurture in him.
So I told him, “I’m so proud of you for being there for your friend today. That was really kind and understanding of you.”
Praising our children for empathy helps them realize how important it is to be compassionate and understanding. It fosters emotional intelligence, which is key to forming meaningful relationships and navigating through life’s ups and downs.
I remember when my daughter first insisted on making her own breakfast. She was determined to spread the jam on her toast without any help. It was a messy affair, with jam ending up in places I didn’t think possible. But the look of triumph on her face when she accomplished it was priceless.
It’s moments like these that we need to celebrate and praise in our children. By saying things like, “I’m really impressed with how you did that all by yourself!” we’re teaching them the value of independence and self-reliance.
Encouraging independence not only boosts their confidence but also prepares them for future challenges. It’s about letting them know that they have the capability to do things on their own.
Patience can be a hard virtue to instill in our kids. In a world of instant gratification, teaching them to wait patiently can be quite a challenge.
But when those moments come, when they show patience, be it waiting for their turn on the swing or waiting for the cookies to bake, make sure to praise them.
Tell them, “I noticed how patient you were while waiting. That’s really impressive!”. This not only acknowledges their good behavior but also encourages them to continue being patient in the future.
By praising patience, we’re teaching our kids the importance of delayed gratification and the value of waiting for what’s truly worthwhile.
Courage is not about being fearless, but about facing our fears and doing it anyway. It’s one of the most important qualities we can nurture in our children.
When your child faces a fear, whether it’s trying a new activity or standing up for what they believe in, make sure you praise their courage.
You could say, “I am so proud of you for being brave and trying something new. That takes real courage.”
By focusing on their courage, you’re teaching them that it’s okay to feel scared and that being brave is about facing those fears head on.
This will help them embrace challenges and take risks in the future, ultimately shaping them into confident and successful individuals.
Final thoughts: It’s about nurturing growth
The development of a child’s character and confidence is deeply intertwined with the way we praise them.
Psychologist Carol Dweck’s research on “mindset” puts forward a compelling argument – It’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success, but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.
When we praise our children for their effort, resilience, honesty, empathy, courage, and other such qualities, we’re nurturing this growth mindset. We’re teaching them that they can improve through hard work and persistence.
As parents, it’s our responsibility to guide our children towards becoming successful and confident individuals. And the way we praise them can make all the difference.
Remember, every child has the potential to achieve great things. The seeds of success are there; it’s up to us to help them grow.
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