HOW TO PRAISE YOUR C...

HOW TO PRAISE YOUR CHILD

As parents we always are looking at new ways of motivating our children so that they can do better. We praise them for the good work that they have done or it for their kind gestures which has impressed you to praise them. Are the praises showered helping the child in their development? Are we giving them in the correct form? Are we praising for the right reasons? Let us understand these questions and as parents let's work towards bringing about a positive change to ensure the praises given are effective and brings good result in the child. Let us look at the below example and understand what works and what does not: Umesh, a 12 year old boy came to see me at my clinic with his parents. The parents concerns were though Umesh is a very intelligent child, his grades in school were very average. They said he was a bright kid and had excellent marks till 3rd standard there after he slowly lost interest in studies, especially if it is challenging task he just gives up. On evaluation we realized Umesh is a bright kid and had no problems in learning. He was very de motivated and thought studying for long hours was a job of a nerd. He was bright and had to do things fast and intelligently. His parents said they had often praised him for his intelligence and awarded him ever so frequently. Have they made him to think that he is successful because he is bright and not because he was hard working. Is this true? Have they inadvertently done something to hold back in him? By making the child believe that he is successful because of his brightness and not because of his hard work the child prefers doing only those things which will prove their intelligence and may avoid those things which may not bring praise. The desire to learning takes a back seat. Research shows that these beliefs can be harmful even to the most competent child. On the other hand, children who enjoy learning and are resilient have been praised for their efforts rather than their intelligence as these children are led to believe that they can develop their intellectual ability through effort and education. Such children tend to focus on doing things. The wrong kind of praise creates self-defeating behavior. The right kind motivates students to learn. Children with fixed mind set - opt to do easy tasks without failure, rather than try a difficult one. Children with growth mind set - try the harder one not worried about the consequences, taking it as an opportunity to learn. Talk about effort the child is putting in and not the ability (such as intelligence) he has. Effort can be analysed by way of the engagement, perseverance, strategies and improvements done by the child which fosters motivation in them. Effort or Process praise keeps children focused as they are learning and there is gradual intellectual growth which is the tool for success. Whereas, ability in a child may either bring success or failure. Instead, teach children to value their efforts. Help a child to understand that their confidence in learning is by focusing on the process of achieving it. Do this from a young age, with developmentally appropriate communication and strategies. By Dr. Nandini Mundkur, MD Director - Centre for Child Development and Disabilities Edited by Mrs. Geetha Rajan