How Not to Talk to Your Kids
The Inverse Power of Praise
I praised Luke, but I attempted to praise his â€œprocess.â€ This was easier said than done. What are the processes that go on in a 5-year-oldâ€™s mind? In my impression, 80 percent of his brain processes lengthy scenarios for his action figures.
But every night he has math homework and is supposed to read a phonics book aloud. Each takes about five minutes if he concentrates, but heâ€™s easily distracted. So I praised him for concentrating without asking to take a break. If he listened to instructions carefully, I praised him for that. After soccer games, I praised him for looking to pass, rather than just saying, â€œYou played great.â€ And if he worked hard to get to the ball, I praised the effort he applied.
Just as the research promised, this focused praise helped him see strategies he could apply the next day. It was remarkable how noticeably effective this new form of praise was.
This article discusses the difference between unfocused praise for innate talents versus focused praise for specific efforts. I love the way it dovetails with Brave Writer philosophy which emphasizes offering support and affirmation for each writing effort a child makes, specifically praising successes in writing rather than general praise about a child’s abilities. Thought you’d enjoy it.