How Praise Can Actually Be Doing More Harm Than Good

Bayo Ajibola

How Praise Can Actually Be Doing More Harm Than Good

“Good job!”

It’s a phrase you’ve said probably a thousand times, but did you know it might be doing more harm than good? Although many think that praising a child for their actions is a good thing and will encourage them to do better, it’s really teaching them to depend on constant feedback as motivation. So instead of doing something for the experience, they’re just doing it for you to praise them.

When you praise your child, it teaches them to strive for perfection rather than improvement and progress, as well as the wrong or right outcome instead of doing something for a meaningful experience. Kids then start to then believe that what others think is right and forget about what they think about their own actions, choices and accomplishments. In short, it can disrupt a kid’s ability to figure out their own decision and will always rely on what think they should do.

Without actually thinking about it, parents who use praise are actually manipulating their kid’s behavior, saying that they approve of them when they do something right and don’t when it’s the opposite. A kid’s confidence can be damaged when living with this kind of judgment from parents.

So you might be thinking now what can you do instead of praising your kids?

Well, encouragement is the remedy to the praise problem. You can give your child encouragement any time and in any situation since it’s a statement that’s more focused on improvement, effort or choice and helps build their self esteem. Encouragement can be in the form of a simple observation or acknowledgement to something they’ve done and will provide them with insight, as well as confidence and resilience.

Instead of saying “Great job!” the next time they do something exceptional or have mastered something, spin it so that you encourage them. Ask them how they feel about their accomplishment or have them explain to you how they got there. Once parents can master encouragement, they’ll provide strengthen their relationship with their child and foster their well-being.


Bayo Ajibola

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