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HomeAcademics & ActivitiesAcademic Skills

How to praise older kids

Page 2 of 2

By GreatSchools Staff

The situation: Without you asking, your child cleans up his room all by himself.
Praising the accomplishment: “Wow! You cleaned up your room! You’re such a great kid.”
Praising the effort: “I know you wanted to watch your program right now, but instead you cleaned your room. I appreciate all the effort you put into putting everything away.”

The situation: Your child has made you a card for your birthday.
Praising the accomplishment: “This card is so beautiful!”
Praising the effort: “I love the design on this card. You’ve done it with my favorite colors — purple and red. And what you wrote about me made me so happy. I’m going to hang it up over my desk.”

The situation: You’ve just seen a school play in which your child has a starring role.
Praising the accomplishment: “You were wonderful! You’re such a great performer.”
Praising the effort: “You were so convincing in your role. You really moved the audience. People around me were weeping when you gave your final dramatic monologue. ”

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

06/25/2012:
"Hmmmmm... "
05/19/2010:
"I agree with this article. My 14 yr old has become lazy in her academics & I contribute that to me always telling her she is so smart, pretty and my world. I think she now thinks she doesn't have to work hard because I'll accept whatever grade she receives. She'll even say, after getting a C, I know the material I just didnt want to do it. I wish I would have approached praising her effort and her actions rather then the expected good outcome she was doing at a younger age. "
05/18/2010:
"MY SON HAS GONE FROM A's AND B's TO F's AND D's SINCE TRANSFERRING FROM A PRIVATE SCHOOL TO A PUBLIC SCHOOL. HE IS 12 AND IN 7TH GRADE. HE WAS IN A PRIVATE SCHOOL SINCE AGE 4. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE CLASS SIZE AND SOCIAL INTERRACTION CAN BE OVERWHELMING WHEN GOING FROM 9 CHILDREN PER CLASS TO 20+ CHILDREN PER CLASS, BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS. I WANT TO GIVE HIM PRAISE FOR HIS ACHIEVEMENTS WHEN HE DOES GET THE STRAY C OR B NOW, BUT I AM AFRAID TO. IT SEEMS THAT PRAISE SEEMS TO BE LOWERING HIS DEMANDS UPON HIMSELF. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. I HAVE MET WITH ALL OF HIS TEACHERS. I HAVE TAKEN HIM FROM ALGEBRA I TO PRE-ALGEBRA; DROPPED SPANISH, ETC. I AM GETTING NOWHERE WITH THIS. ANY ADVICE?"
05/17/2010:
"So what do you say to an 'F' to try to turn it around to an A or even a D ? Its easy to praise an A. "
05/17/2010:
"How did I ever make it to adulthood without serious mental and emotional problems? I understand where the author is coming from, but can we disect education related topics anymore than they already are? The bottom line is that everyone is wrong is one way or another,but somehow we manage to survive...."
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