Stop Praising Your Children

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A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water

~ Rudolph Dreikurs

A misbehaving child is a discouraged child

~ Alfred Adler

“Encourage the deed [or effort], not the doer.” — Rudolf Dreikurs, psychiatrist/educator, (1897-1972)

Make each day your masterpiece.
– John Wooden

Are you shocked??? You are reading it rightly…… Stop Praising Your Children. Do you praise or encourage your children? Does praising and encouraging differ? For this, you have to understand the meaning of praise and encouragement clearly.


  1. the act of expressing approval or admiration; commendation;laudation.
  2. the offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship: a hymn of praise to God.
  3. the state of being approved or admired : The king lived in praise for many years. 
  4. Archaic. a ground for praise, or a merit.
  5. to speak highly of or to commend


  1. to inspire with courage, spirit, hope, to advance, foster, boost
  2. to put courage in
  3. to cherish, sustain
  4. to give support, confidence, advice
  5. to help or stimulate

Praise is a reward for an accomplishment that meets or exceeds the parent’s expectations. Encouragement, however, is a gift for being oneself and trying hard.  Encouragement is empowering.  Praise is building the image of ego.There are no conditions in encouragement and it isn’t judgmental. Praise has its limits and it’s always judgmental. Encouragement is about the process – the journey, where praise is about the results. Praise makes the children egoistic. Encouragement makes the children self-confident.

Praise focuses on:

  • perfection and not progress and improvement.
  • a right or wrong outcome and not a meaningful experience.
  • good or bad decisions and not the decision-making process.
  • pride or disappointment and not acceptance and support.

Encouragement focus on

  • specific action or deed.
  • private appreciation.
  • improvement of the process and not evaluation of a finished product.
  • development of an appreciation of their own behaviors and achievements.
  • not comparing one child to another.
  • setting up children for success.
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Advantages of Encouragement :

  • It develops a stronger sense of self.
  • Helps feeling included and accepted.
  • Fear of failure is reduced.
  • Developing will power.
  • Encourage positive self-image and behavior.
  • Develop self-confidence

True encouraging words focus on the deed, not the doer. It motivates a child from the inside to show similar positive behavior in the future, and to value things like hard work, improvement, teamwork and perseverance. It also teaches them failures are stepping-stones for success. It helps them to analyse their strength and weakness positively. It aims for progressive growth but not on exponential growth.

When we were kids, we were used to hear more “ Good Job” , “ Looking Pretty “, “ Brilliant “, “ Well Done “ from our parents. These are the most motivating phrases used at that time. And I was also accustomed to use these phrases while motivating my son until I clearly understood the difference between praise and encouragement.

Our strategy of replacing praise with encouragement

Praise: “I’m so proud of you, Mithu.”

Encouragement: “You deserve this for your hard work.”

Praise: “You’re so great at music.”

Encouragement: “You are improving in music every time you compose; Keep up the spirit.”

Praise: “Thanks.”

Encouragement: “I appreciate your help in making your bed.”

 Praise: “You are the best!”

Encouragement: “I am happy that you shared your note with your friend today.”

Praise: “You‘re so smart.”

Encouragement: “You well behaved in the function. I really love your attitude.”

Encouragement and praise are both good. Praise is easy to do and most parents love to do this often. On the other hand, encouragement takes more time and demands more patience. It’s our responsibility to make the kids understand the language of encouragement and thus to build their self-esteem. You can do it. Miles to go! But keep your focus on the journey and not destination.

How you do you feel about it? Do you accept encouragement is better than praise? Share your thoughts with us. We are ears ….. <3 <3 <3


Don’t fail to read the post Encourage your kids

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10 thoughts on “Stop Praising Your Children”

  1. Those were nice examples distinguishing between praise and encouragement. I see myself practicing both. I catch my son in his good acts and appreciate him for what he did. Sometimes he doesn’t even realise if I am watching him when he is helping a child in the park or did or said something good which was not expected from him. And when I tell him about what I had seen like alongwith the remark – helping others is a good quality, he swells up with pride. I also tell him I am proud of him when he does good.
    Somedays, subconsciously I tell him he is a good boy or he should be a good boy. And then I realise, it is not him who has to be termed good or bad but his deed.
    I know I talk (write) a lot 🙂

  2. True, encouragement is an important aspect of positive parenting. When we praise children too much or too often, they begin to expect constant acknowledgement and are upset when they don’t get it. Encouragement on the other hand prepares them for real-world challenges where they will be expected to do much more than show up to earn recognition.

  3. This was simple and I think easy to follow too… as a parent, I fear that constant praise will make the child vain and no praise will depress her. But this post shows me another way to inject positivity! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Beat About The Book

    I really hadn’t thought of it like this. You’ve brought out the differences so ckearly. I’ve been doing a bit of both. But I need to think this through each time I give the kids a compliment.

  5. You know I never actually gave so much thought to the one versus the other. I guess encouragement or motivation is definitely more important as you’ve mentioned.

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