Maybe the real question is not how much we praise but the type of praise we give. Let’s face it are we really running the risk of over praising our children?
So maybe the key is how we praise. I think we can agree that it is very good to praise our children. The question is; should we praise them for every good thing that they do?
For instance our daughter’s routinely bring home very good report cards. It would be a natural response for my wife and I to say; “good job! You’re so smart! Such a great student! I’m so proud of you!”
You may now be asking yourself, “what’s so bad about that?” I will respond with there is nothing inherently wrong with telling your children that they are smart and that you are proud of them. And, there may be a better way to praise them.
Consider the idea of praising the process rather than the outcome. This would something like, “Wow! Those are great grades, I can tell that you’ve worked very hard for those!” Or if you are praising a specific subject you can praise the work ethic or the commitment to doing well, or the work to improve. This type of praise builds the child’s character as well as makes them feel good about what they have done.