Hurting our Kids with Praise

For me, one of the scariest elements of teaching and parenting is what we do unintentionally; messages we are sending that we don’t realize we are sending, techniques we think are beneficial that backfire. Fortunately, kids are tremendously resilient and are going to be fine, more or less, if they know we love them and they have basic boundaries. However, in the interest of always learning and improving, one counterintuitive parenting issue is praise. There is a lot of research and there are a number of books explaining that research (Mindsets, Too Much of a Good Thing, NurtureShock) and it comes up regularly in family therapy all over the nation. Even our own Dr. Montessori said we should observe the facts to our children rather than pass judgement (“Wow, your picture is blue” instead of “Wow, your picture is beautiful”). Watch this 8 minute video about the effects of praising our kids, to get an idea of what researchers see. It’s an interesting glimpse of how our well-intentioned praise can hurt their performance, their self confidence, and even be linked to anxiety and depression.

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