Thursday, April 12, 2007

The New Praise

I'm sure many parents out there have already heard and read about the new praise.

Basically anyone born from 1970-on suffered from the "self-esteem must be preserved above all else" category of praise which has lead to a generation of narcissistic, self-absorbed people afraid of failure.

I tell you this as a person that carried a box full of swimming ribbons around for years. When I finally opened them I saw that most of them were 7th, 8th, 10th(?) place ribbons- or even better the purple "Participation" ribbon. (Thanks for showing Up! Good on ya!)

Not sure how afraid of failure I am, but I remember figuring out in middle school that there was only a certain amount of effort required to make decent grades. "You're so smart, why aren't you living up to your potential". Well, if I'm so smart than why do I need to work any harder? I'm not really competitive in general so....

The new way to praise is to be specific about what you are praising. Not a general "You are awesome Bob!" but a specific, "That is an awesome report Bob! i love your column headers!". Trying to implement this with a toddler is more challenging than you might think. "Awesome form on that slide Miss D! Way to use your booty!" However, there is one area that I've really been seeing results: teeth brushing. I've been specific to praise when she's brushing her front teeth properly and encouraging her to brush her back teeth on her own, giving her pointers and telling her if she keeps trying she'll soon be able to do it right herself. The other night, she totally started brushing them on her own. She was only able to get one side (she is still figuring out how to manouver the tooth brush for the other side) but it was still really cool.


Dad said...

Way to go Momster

alexis said...

that is a really interesting article! Luckily nothing cures you of that sort of thing better than a miserable failure early on in life.

Mom said...

That was a very interesting article. If this new theory really works maybe you girls will be able to avoid a lot of those awful middle school issues!