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Praising The Goodness Of Your Child

By Linda Milo

Praise can be a word, an expression on your face, a gesture, or a statement that encourages pride, joy and accomplishment in your child. When you give praise you are giving your child a feeling of positive feedback, which increases their sense of confidence, self-worth and competence.

Not bad, huh! When you praise your child, you are pointing out the significance of their abilities, achievements or traits. When your child looks good, tell him so. When your child does anything that pleases you, let him know. And when your child tries hard to do something, even it he doesn't do it well, always praise the effort involved. In other words, praise your child daily.

There are two areas where parents use praise. One area is called praise for doing and one area is called praise for being.

The highest form of praise is praise for being. It tells your child that because they are your son or daughter, they have value and are worth your praise. Praise for being lets your child know that you value them just as they are.

Some examples of praise of being are: "I just really love you, Thank you for being my wonderful son/daughter, What a really special child you are, What a pretty smile you have on your face." These words generate a child's inner feelings to expand with joy and appreciation. When you praise your child for just being, you are also letting him know that he doesn't have to do anything to earn it.

The other form of praise is praise for doing. This lets your child know that you appreciate and value their behavior and their effort. Children just love to be thanked by their parents for whatever tasks they attempt. Children want to please their parents. When you give your child praise for doing something, you let them know that they pleased mom and dad. Praise should be given for something a child tried to do, as well as for something they tried to do but didn't quite finish or succeed. When you acknowledge your child's effort, they are more likely to try it again.

Some examples of praise of doing are: "You did a really good job making your bed/or cleaning your room. I'm so proud of the way you cooperated today, You dressed yourself completely alone today, I am so proud of you, What a great job you did painting the fence." These words also create a feeling of expansion and joy within your child's inner feelings. When you praise your child for doing something, you are also letting him that he is pleasing you, which is very good!

Try not to use "conditional love when praising your child. This means when your child does a good job cleaning their room, parents tend to say, "What a nice job you did cleaning your room. Mommy really loves you." This statement to your child is actually telling your child that love has to be earned. Your child will quickly learn to resent such love because they know if they don't "do something, mom or dad won't love them.

Some parents use their praise as a weapon to get something they desire. Parents use this weapon so that it conveys they can take something away any time they want to. For example, "If you don't behave today, I'm not going to love you anymore." This is a horrible thing to say to a child! Threatening to take away your love causes a child to suffer unbearable loss of security and dependency. Your child is very dependent on your love and your good feelings, so watch your words of praise to your child. Remember to praise the being or the doing of your child's actions. Don't allow your child to feel that love can be a threat, as this will only reinforce teaching your child that it is not good to love someone because when they mess up, they won't be loved. This makes it difficult to get close to others if they're fearful of the consequences.

Praise means to admire, honor, congratulate, pay tribute to, applaud and acclaim. Use praise lavishly with your child on a daily basis and watch the dynamics of your relationship change toward a healthier bond and connection.

Copyright © 2005 by Linda Milo and Empowering Parents Now. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Linda Milo, The Parent-Child Connection Coach, specializes in helping mothers and fathers turn their parenting challenges into a more livable, more workable, and more enjoyable family life. The tips in this article have been excerpted from her upcoming tips booklet, "58 Solutions For Common Parenting Challenges."

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