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Fishful Thinking: Praise with a Purpose

Something I’ve been working on for a while now (ever since reading about it on the Fishful Thinking website when I first started with them) is praising the kids with a purpose. Sure, anyone can give an “Atta boy!” …but to really make a difference, you need to find something specific about that atta boy to praise.

For example, when Burke draws one of his pictures, I don’t just say “Great drawing, Burke! Awesome Job!” I try to say something like, “That’s a really cool drawing, Burke – I like the way you drew the horse from the bottom perspective rather than the top!”  I usually add in a “You worked really hard on that!” for good measure…especially when I know that he really did.

It’s hard to get going with this, but with some practice, it actually becomes habit.

Another good article to read is How Not to Talk to Your Kids. I think the Positive Praise and this article kind of go hand-in-hand. This one talks about how you may actually be causing your kids to under-perform if you keep telling them things like “You’re so smart!” (That’s where my “you worked really hard on that!” came from…)

Take note of the next time you’re praising your kid(s). Are you praising with a purpose? Are you giving them a complex? 😉 I’m sure I’m giving my kids some sort of complex, but I’m trying really hard to curb this one! 🙂