Saturday, September 12, 2009

Beware the Praise Junkie

I'm back. Today anyway.

As the Little Man grows, starts talking, responding to praise and punishment, and generally turning into a little kid, I was especially interested to read this article.

The author mentions using confirmation of an action (you tied your shoes!) versus praise (wow you tied your shoes so well!). This helps your child know that you're paying attention, but does not make him rely upon you for confirmation of whether or not he is doing a good job.

The Millennial generation grew up with parents who were taught that praise is the "right" way to direct your children's behavior. The result is a generation of praise-junkies, as evidenced by the guidance I am constantly given as a supervisor of new hires. "Praise them. Give them feedback. They need lots of assurance from you that they're on the right track." Some of the advice is even a little bitter (mainly from older generations): "They need to have someone say 'good job' just for showing up to work on time."

Generational tensions aside, I believe that this article has some good advice. I intend to pay attention to my little man, but give him room to build his own sense of when he is doing a good job. However, I'm sure well-deserved praise will continue to flow!