Pillar # 3 Use Praise and Encouragement Appropriately

Tip 107 – Use praise sparingly and encouragement freely.

Review of Pillars so Far:

1. Set up for Success

2. Make Expectations Clear

3. Use Praise and Encouragement Appropriately

Praise is all about giving approval. It comes with value words like “good, very good, excellent,” and so on. Adult approval is very powerful for children. They look for it everywhere and depend on adults to get it. However, it is not as good for them as it might seem. The most important kind of praise comes from the inside and is really provided by the child.

Therefore, to avoid creating a dependency on adult praise, use it sparingly. Reserve it for major accomplishments like beautiful drawings, well-built block towers, carefully completed puzzles, etc.

On the other hand, please feel free to give encouragement. Your child will love it, and it will do great things for him or her! Encouragement is the act of noticing different parts of activities any time and all the time. Since child endeavors go on everyday all day long, you can recognize them as much as you want. For example, for a drawing not yet finished, you can point out beautiful colors. For a tower just begun, you can acknowledge well-placed blocks. For a puzzle not finished, you can reflect on a difficult piece well-placed. Implicit in this process is creating the opportunity for self-praise, the most important kind of praise of all. Here are some examples:

Parent: “You used beautiful colors.

Child to him or herself: “Good for me.”

Parent: “You placed the blocks well.”

Child to him or herself: “Good for me.”

Parent: “You put in a hard piece of the puzzle.”

Child to him or herself: “Good for me.


Inner approval minimizes the need for adult approval; and that is great!


Encouragement helps your child reach a goal and that will truly, and rightfully so, earn some praise. That praise will feel extremely rewarding to your child, and it will not carry with it any kind of dependency.


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Monday Morning Coffee – “15 Pillars of Parenting”

Tuesday Afternoon Tea – Q & A

Wednesday Evening Wine – Parent as a Pro

Parenting skills are just that important. They make everything else that you do go much more smoothly.

~ Dr. Sally

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